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Kentucky Attorney files papers urging U.S. Supreme Court to stop EPA effort to shutter coal industry

By Tom Latek
Kentucky Today

Attorney General Daniel Cameron filed papers before the United States Supreme Court urging the justices to review a lower court ruling that allows the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to reshape the nation’s power sector.

The case, West Virginia v. Environmental Protection Agency, concerns a D.C. Circuit ruling that permits the EPA to mandate unrealistic emission standards that would potentially do irreparable damage to Kentucky’s coal industry as part of the Obama-era Clean Power Plan.

Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron (Photo from Kentucky Today)

Cameron’s filing, known as an amicus brief, argues that the EPA lacks the authority to restructure the nation’s power sector and that such weighty policy decisions should be made by Congress, where the people have a voice.

According to the EPA, the drastic cut in carbon emissions required to address climate change could require moving to lower carbon energy sources. This move could lead to the closure of coal-fired power plants in Kentucky and other states.

“Allowing the EPA to restructure our nation’s entire energy sector to address climate change unfairly places a target on the Kentucky coal industry,” Cameron stated. “We are a proud coal-producing state, with the third-highest number of operating coal mines in the country and the second-highest number of coal workers. We will not stand idly by while a government agency shuts down a vital component of the Commonwealth’s economy, and we are urging the Supreme Court to consider this case and reign in the authority of the EPA.”

In 2019, Kentucky offered the seventh-lowest industrial electricity prices in the United States and the lowest east of the Mississippi River. The amicus brief argues that if the EPA is granted authority to reduce emissions by closing coal-fired plants, such actions will increase utility costs and lead to a loss of Kentucky jobs.

The EPA estimated that under the Clean Power Plan, the reduction in coal-fired electricity production would lead to a loss of over 30,000 jobs across the country.

In the state, electricity costs would increase by more than 27 percent. For individual Kentucky households, this would raise the percentage of household income spent on electricity by almost a full percent.

Earlier this year, Cameron took action to prevent the Biden Administration from implementing the “social cost of carbon” executive order, which targets industries like coal and manufacturing.

He also joined 21 other attorneys general in filing a lawsuit against President Biden’s cancellation of the Keystone XL Pipeline.

Read the amicus brief at ag.ky.gov.

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One Comment

  1. Ruth Bamberger says:

    Cameron and the other AGs are swimming against the tide. The reality is that fossil fuels are on their way out. Yes, the transition into a cleaner environment and a healthier economy generating new jobs in the energy sector will incur costs to all of us up front, but we need to bite the bullet to address the serious consequences of pollution and climate change. Kicking the can down the road will only exacerbate the challenges we face.

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