U.S. Rep. Evan Jenkins (R-WV) praised his home state on Thursday for taking on the Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) proposed rule change that would require the beginning of the transition from coal-powered electricity grids to cleaner forms of energy.
The lawmaker's comments came after the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit heard oral arguments in the case of The State of West Virginia v. U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
This case and Murray Energy Corp. v. EPA allege that the EPA lacks the authority to propose such a rule.
“I want to commend West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey for his leadership on this issue," Jenkins said. "I remain optimistic the court will see that West Virginia and our fellow states are right – this rule is fundamentally flawed and must be withdrawn.”
A report in The New York Times said two federal judges on the panel overseeing the case are skeptical of efforts to stop the proposed rule change.
“The rule the EPA is drafting will decrease our ability to mine, produce and use coal for affordable energy," Jenkins said. "It’ll raise energy prices and put families on the unemployment line. In fact, coal-fired power plants are already preparing to shut down due to the proposal of this rule. The EPA’s actions pose a great threat to West Virginia’s families, communities, businesses and our state’s economy."
Coal mining is a large driving factor in the state's economy and it employs many of its citizens.
“People in West Virginia are worried," Jenkins said. "They’re worried that the federal government will take their livelihood away."