CHARLESTON, W.Va. — West Virginia's governor and attorney general are joining two other states that are seeking to challenge federal environmental rules on greenhouse gas emissions.
Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin and Attorney General Patrick Morrisey announced Friday that West Virginia, Montana and Kansas filed a joint friend-of-the-court brief asking the U.S. Supreme Court to hear a challenge to Environmental Protection Agency rules. The rules would allow the federal government to regulate greenhouse gas emissions from stationary sources.
The three states want the U.S. Supreme Court to clarify that the EPA has misinterpreted the Clean Air Act and has overstepped its regulatory authority.
Burning coal and other fossil fuels releases large amounts of carbon dioxide and other gases blamed for climate change. In February, an EPA report said power plants remain the largest stationary source of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases that trigger global warming.
Morrisey said EPA rules on greenhouse gas emissions "are another example of the federal agency overstepping its role to the detriment of West Virginians."
Tomblin said he also wrote to President Barack Obama last month urging him to direct the EPA to halt its "anti-coal" policies.
"The EPA's proposed limits on greenhouse gas emissions threaten the livelihood of our coal miners to the point of killing jobs and crippling our state and national economies, while also weakening our country's efforts toward energy independence," Tomblin said.
Congress intended the permitting program included in the federal Clean Air Act of 1977 to be limited to the largest industrial sources of air pollution, but the EPA's rule would greatly expand that and create an overly burdensome program, the three states said in their filing to the Supreme Court.
The EPA decision would require hundreds of thousands of small sources to be part of the greenhouse gas permitting programs, the states said.
That result would be enormous costs to industry, consumers and the states that have to administer the permit system, they wrote.
"The EPA's unprecedented permitting regime for greenhouse gases imposes an enormous financial strain on our economy, right when Montanans can ill afford it," Montana Attorney General Tim Fox said in a statement Friday. "Moreover, states like Montana are forced to absorb the increased costs of administering these harmful rules.
"We're standing up for Montana — and all Americans— against this type of overreach by the federal government, and hope the Supreme Court will restore some balance to this type of heavy-handed regulation from an unelected federal bureaucracy," Fox added.