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West Virginia Attorney General Leads Coalition in Support of Energy Rule

September 17, 2019
- West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey recently led a coalition of officials from 20 states in supporting the Trump administration’s pro-coal, Affordable Clean Energy rule as it faces a challenge in court from Democratic attorneys general.

The coalition, in a motion filed Thursday, 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 in a news release. "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 its 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 those interests.

The Affordable Clean Energy rule will respect the important role of states in regulating energy and air quality. 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 might have devastated coal communities across the state and nation.

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.

The Trump rule also adopts a more individualized approach to rule making with respect for the rule of law, including the attorney general's contention that the framework of any replacement must set achievable targets for individual plants — a stark contrast to the Obama EPA’s effort to shutter coal-fired power plants in its massive 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 historic and unprecedented victory at the Supreme Court, and has continued to lead a broad coalition to ensure its repeal.

West Virginia’s historic victory at the Supreme Court stopped the Obama-era regulation in its tracks.

In 2017, Morrisey witnessed President Donald 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 EPA on the legality and necessity of a replacement rule through the public comment process.

The West Virginia-led motion 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.