Robert Murray, West Virginia Leaders Pleased by Move to Eliminate Clean Power Plan
WHEELING — Even before President Donald Trump’s administration actually revokes the hotly contested Clean Power Plan, Murray Energy Corp. officials and environmental advocates are bracing to continue the legal battle that began under former President Barack Obama’s administration.
On Monday, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt said he would officially overturn the plan today. This action would follow an executive order Trump signed on March 28, which was designed to prevent the plan from taking effect.
The Clean Power Plan would compel electricity companies in Ohio and West Virginia to reduce their carbon dioxide pollution by an average of 37 percent by 2040, compared to 2005 levels.
“We fully support President Trump and Administrator Pruitt’s decision to fully repeal the so-called Clean Power Plan. Indeed, this action, together with the nationwide stay of the Clean Power Plan that Murray Energy Corp. received from the Supreme Court of the U.S., has saved over 25,000 American jobs,” Murray spokesman Gary Broadbent said. “We will continue to work with the President Trump’s administration to preserve low-cost, reliable electricity in America, and to protect the thousands of jobs and family livelihoods that rely on the U.S. coal industry,” Broadbent added.
Both of West Virginia’s senators, Republican Shelley Moore Capito and Democrat Joe Manchin, issued statements supporting Pruitt’s announcement.
“For years, the Obama administration waged a war on coal and issued heavy-handed regulations to pick winners and losers among energy industries,” Capito said. “In West Virginia, our coal miners, their families and entire communities felt the blow of that misguided approach to energy production.”
Manchin in his statement called Obama-era policies on energy “misguided.”
“West Virginia and the United States should lead the global clean-energy economy and with an administration working as a partner, instead of an opponent, we are poised to do just that,” he said.
West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice said Trump had promised him that he “was going to take care of our miners.”
“This is great news for our state and the coal industry,” said Gov. Jim Justice. “Coal has been steadily recovering, we’ve seen an upturn in severance taxes and this decision will clearly help put our coal miners back to work.
West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey also lauded Pruitt’s announcement.
“I was humbled to have led the state-based coalition that defeated the power plan in court through an unprecedented stay at the Supreme Court, and am excited that the Trump administration is taking the final step to kill this terrible, job-killing regulation. I believe these actions will help lead to a rebound for coal and will make lives better for coal miners and their families,” he said.
Nevertheless, New York Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman said Monday he will continue the charge to see the plan become reality.
“The Trump administration’s persistent and indefensible denial of climate change — and their continued assault on actions essential to stemming its increasing devastation — is reprehensible, and I will use every available legal tool to fight their dangerous agenda,” Schneiderman said.
Michael Brune serves as director of the Sierra Club, a San Francisco-based environmental group.
“The damage caused by Trump’s willful ignorance will now have myriads of human faces because he’s proposing to throw out a plan that would prevent thousands of premature deaths and tens of thousands of childhood asthma attacks every year,” Brune said. “Trump can’t reverse our clean energy and climate progress with the stroke of a pen, and we’ll fight him and Scott Pruitt in the courts, in the streets and at the state and local level across America to protect the health of every community.”