Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron filed an amicus brief before the United States Supreme Court urging the court to review a lower court ruling that permits the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) 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 (CPP).
Attorney General Cameron’s 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,” said Attorney General Cameron.
“We are a proud coal-producing state, with the third-highest number of operating coals 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 CPP, the reduction in coal-fired electricity production would lead to a loss of over 30,000 jobs across the country. In the Commonwealth, 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. ■