WHEELING - West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey says greenhouse gas emission provisions within the Clean Air Act are meant for automobiles, and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is wrong to apply them to stationary structures such as schools and hospitals that could emit carbon dioxide.
Morrisey and Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin recently announced West Virginia has joined Kansas and Montana in filing an amicus, or friend of the court, brief asking the U.S. Supreme Court to hear a challenge to EPA rules that allow the federal government to regulate greenhouse gas emissions from stationary sources.
As a friend of the court, West Virginia officials now may file briefs explaining how the state will be negatively impacted by the more strict interpretation of the rules, which could cause job losses in the state's coal industry.
West Virginia's decision to join the case follows a ruling by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia in favor of the EPA's interpretation of the Clean Air Act to include stationary structures. If allowed to stand, the federal appeals court ruling will fundamentally alter the Constitution's separation of powers and grant unprecedented authority to the EPA and other federal agencies, according to Morrisey.
"If the EPA wants to make a change, it should get Congress to change the statute ... ," Morrisey said. "Regardless of your position on climate change, you can't ignore the rule of law - and it's not right to use it to impose a point of view. You have to follow the rules."
States questioning the appeals court ruling read the law as pertaining only to carbon dioxide emissions from automobiles, and the EPA should have an policy in place for alternative sources, he said.