Environmental organizations in West Virginia worry that the U.S. EPA under President-elect Donald Trump will no longer protect their interests and are seeking to intervene in a court battle against Murray Energy Corp.
A judge in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of West Virginia agreed with Murray Energy in the case and ordered the EPA to calculate coal job losses associated with its Clean Air Act regulations. The EPA said it would take years to comply, so Murray asked the judge to order the EPA cease publication of any new proposed and final rules affecting coal until it was completed.
The environmental groups were not originally party to the case, they said, because they felt their interests in protecting public health were sufficiently aligned with the EPA. The groups said they want to defend the protection they receive "from critical Clean Air Act regulations" they believe may be under threat.
"[S]tatements from the President-Elect, his campaign, and his transition team, as well as news reports, have highlighted that the incoming administration will effect an abrupt reversal of position on environmental regulation, including potential changes of position in pending Clean Air Act challenges to regulations addressing pollution from fossil fuel-fired power plants," the filing states. " ... Movants therefore seek to intervene now in anticipation of that policy shift, due to the likelihood that EPA may no longer adequately represent Movants' interests in defending the air pollution standards that are the subject of this litigation."
The groups wrote that Murray intends to oppose the motion to intervene.