Rep. Kelly Signs Amicus Brief Urging Court to Stop President Obama’s War on Coal

Feb 24, 2016 Issues: Economy and Jobs, Energy

Effort to declare EPA’s controversial “Clean Power Plan” unlawful includes 34 Senators, 171 Representatives

WASHINGTON — U.S. Representative Mike Kelly (R-PA) joined 170 other Members of Congress and 34 U.S. Senators in submitting an amicus brief to the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals yesterday in support of the plaintiffs in the case of State of West Virginia, et al. v. Environmental Protection Agency, et al. The brief supports petitions filed by 27 states seeking to overturn the regulatory plan devised by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to reduce carbon emissions, also known as the “Clean Power Plan.” Reports indicate that the plan will have a catastrophic impact on the nation’s coal industry and cause harm to the economy.

Statement by Rep. Kelly:

“The Obama administration’s war on coal is a war on American jobs, families, and communities. In Pennsylvania alone, coal is responsible for 40,000 jobs and 40 percent of our electric power. The Associated Press rightly calls it ‘the workhorse of the US power system.’ The EPA’s so-called Clean Power Plan is a cruel attack on the needs of so many people – especially in Western Pennsylvania – who depend on coal's benefits every day. Whether it’s lost livelihoods for families or higher energy bills for senior citizens, the pain of this president’s radical plan will be felt long after he leaves office. We must use every tool at our disposal to fight it and stop it.”

Excerpt of amicus brief:

The Final Rule goes well beyond the clear statutory directive by, among other things, requiring States to submit, for approval, state or regional energy plans to meet EPA’s predetermined CO2 mandates for their electricity sector. In reality, if Congress desired to give EPA sweeping authority to transform the nation’s electricity sector, Congress would have provided for that unprecedented power in detailed legislation. Indeed, when an agency seeks to make “decisions of vast ‘economic and political significance’” under a “long-extant statute,” it must point to a “clear” statement from Congress. … EPA can point to no statement of congressional authorization for the Final Rule’s central features, precisely because there is none.

Nor has Congress authorized EPA to make the policy choices that are reflected in the Final Rule—a rule that imposes enormous costs on States and the public without achieving meaningful climate benefits. Because of the Final Rule, States will face unprecedented new regulatory burdens, electricity ratepayers will be subject to billions of dollars in compliance costs, and American workers and their families will experience the hardship of job losses due to power plant shutdowns, higher electricity prices, and overall diminishment of the nation’s global economic competitiveness. Choices of this nature are inherently Congressional decisions. …  Congress has not authorized EPA to make the central policy choices in the Final Rule and, in many respects, has affirmatively rejected those policies, as it certainly did with respect to cap-and-trade programs for CO2 emissions from power plants.

Accordingly, the Final Rule that has been properly stayed by the Supreme Court should now be vacated by this Court.

NOTE: Thirty-nine lawsuits seeking review of the Clean Power Plan (the Final Rule) have been consolidated in the D.C. Circuit. The Final Rule was stayed by the Supreme Court on February 9, 2016. The D.C. Circuit is scheduled to hear oral arguments in the consolidated cases on June 2, 2016. An amicus brief, or “friend of the court” brief, can be filed in order to address concerns and advise the Court on a matter of law that directly affects the case at hand. 

BACKGROUND: On June 8, 2016, Rep. Kelly re-introduced the Coal Country Protection Act (H.R. 2637) in the House of Representatives. The legislation would halt any new regulation or guidance by the EPA to limit carbon emissions from new or existing power plants until specific, economy-protecting criteria are met.

On August 4, 2014, The Wall Street Journal published a guest op-ed written by Rep. Kelly on the economic danger of the EPA's anti-coal regulations proposed under President Obama titled, “Pushing Back Against Obama's War on Coal.”

On July 29, 2014, Rep. Kelly formally invited President Obama to visit a coal mine in Western Pennsylvania. The visit would be personally arranged by Rep. Kelly and is designed to give the president an opportunity to meet the workers whose jobs are most directly threatened by the EPA’s Clean Power Plan. The invitation, since re-iterated, has thus far been declined by the White House.