CHARLESTON — West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey is leading a group of officials from 20 states in supporting the Trump Administration’s pro-coal, Affordable Clean Energy rule as it faces a challenge in court by Democrat attorneys general.
The group, in a motion filed Sept. 12, seeks to intervene in defense of the rule’s repeal of the so-called Clean Power Plan, an Obama-era regulation that would have devastated West Virginia coal mining and those who depend upon its success.
“The ACE Rule gives states the authority to regulate their own energy and allow cooperation between state and federal governments, without the federal overreach of the Obama Administration’s so-called Clean Power Plan,” Morrisey said. “Our office will continue to protect coal miners, preserve the state’s economy and lead the fight against this big government power grab lawsuit.”
The coalition’s motion contends that the interests of their respective states in maintaining their sovereignty will be impaired without intervention in the lawsuit. The states also argue they must intervene since no other entity will adequately represent these interests.
Morrisey says the Affordable Clean Energy rule is preferable to the "patently unlawful regime sought by the Obama-era Power Plan."
He says the Affordable Clean Energy rule will respect the role of states in regulating energy and air quality. His office calls it is a "significant step forward in embracing Congress’ intent for cooperation between the state and federal governments, correcting the Obama-era, one-size-fits-all model that promised to devastate coal communities across the state and nation."
He says such cooperation restores each state’s authority to consider factors specific to the energy needs and facilities in their borders, including costs, practical achievability and the useful life of any particular power plant.
Morrisey says the Trump rule also adopts a more individualized approach to rulemaking with respect for the rule of law, including Morrisey’s contention that the framework of any replacement must set achievable targets for individual plants, which he says is "a stark contrast to the Obama EPA’s effort to shutter coal-fired power plants in its massive and unlawful overhaul of the nation’s electrical grid."
Morrisey challenged the Obama-era Power Plan on the day it was published, blocked its enforcement with a victory at the Supreme Court and has continued to lead a coalition to work toward its repeal.
He says West Virginia’s victory at the U.S. Supreme Court stopped the Obama-era regulation and "provided time for a new administration to correct the attempted overreach of its predecessor."
In 2017, Morrisey witnessed Trump sign an executive order that initiated his administration’s review of the Power Plan and later spoke in support of its repeal during a public hearing at the State Capitol in Charleston.
Since then, Morrisey has continued to lead a coalition of states in advising the EPA on the legality and necessity of a replacement rule through the public comment process.
The West Virginia-led motion filed this week was joined by the attorneys general of Alabama, Alaska, Arkansas, Georgia, Indiana, Kansas, Louisiana, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Texas, Utah and Wyoming as well as the governors of Kentucky and Mississippi and the Mississippi Public Service Commission.