In October, EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt announced that the Trump Administration would toss the Clean Power Plan regulation put in place by the Obama EPA. The regulation is known for its strict standards that punish the owners and operators of coal and natural gas power plants and overstepped the authority of the states to manage their energy sectors without Congressional approval.
The announcement led to a recent public hearing in West Virginia where the people of coal country vented about the harm that was inflicted on their economy. West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey was in attendance, calling the regulation “disastrous and unlawful.” Morrisey declared that he would “go after” the CPP in whatever capacity he could if elected to the US Senate.
Bob Murray, the CEO of Murray Energy, America’s largest privately owned coal company, gave his own testimony at the hearing which he attended with 30 of his employees. He called the regulation “illegal” and part of “Mr. Obama and Democrats’ War on Coal.” Murray said: “The Clean Power Plan would devastate coal-fired electricity generation in America and US coal industry. It would impose massive costs on the power sector and American consumers.”
The West Virginia Coal Association hosted a rally outside the Capitol where the hearings took place. Speakers included Senate President Mitch Carmichael, House Speaker Tim Armstead, and Chris Hamilton, the vice president of WVCA who called for the day to always be celebrated as the day the war on coal was ended.
Hamilton applauded the Trump Administration and also called to celebrate his election as president. “I made remarks earlier that I was not sure Russians had any intervention or anything to do with last year’s election. I think it was divine intervention,” Hamilton said. “And I thank God for President Trump. I thank God for EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt and I thank God for DOE Energy Secretary Rick Perry.”
Carmichael and Armstead also thanked President Trump for listening to the people “who have jobs in the state” and are “affected with regulations.” The president of the WVCA, Bill Raney, said: “The EPA has never been here to listen to people most affected by policies over the years. It’s a big day for West Virginia.”
According to USA Today, Trump’s EPA is also putting a stop to the Obama Administration’s “sue-and-settle” approach that allowed environmental groups to rewrite regulations without public scrutiny. EPA Administrator Pruitt has also encouraged greater state influence in EPA policy by rewriting membership rules for the agency’s advisory boards to include more Midwestern and Mountain states. He also put researchers representing industries and institutions based in the middle of the country in advisory positions, replacing scientists who received EPA grants.