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Overreach: Supreme Court should weigh in on EPA power

West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey was back on the case last week as he led a 19-state coalition in asking the U.S. Supreme Court to stop an appeals court ruling that would give the Environmental Protection Agency broad authority to “decarbonize virtually any sector of the economy,” as Morrisey’s office put it.

This fight is similar to one Morrisey and his colleagues have won once before, when they fought overreach by President Barack Obama’s EPA.

“This wildly expansive power to regulate factories, hospitals and even homes has tremendous costs and consequences for all Americans, in particular West Virginia’s coal miners, pipeliners, natural gas producers and utility workers as well as the countless others who rely upon their success,” Morrisey said. “If EPA lacks such expansive authority, as we argue, the Supreme Court should make that clear now. Any further delay will impose costs the energy sector can never recoup and force states to sink even more years and resources into an enterprise that is – at best – legally uncertain.”

The coalition’s legal arguments are solid, and surely the Supreme Court will rule in its favor. But there is an important reason it must do so quickly. Time is not on the side of West Virginia and the other states involved. Movement by the EPA and the rest of President Joe Biden’s administration to move away from fossil fuels is too quick to minimize harm to the workers, families and communities who will be hurt, if it does not encounter a speed bump or two.

Yes, our states’ and nation’s economies must transition and diversify. That will happen, but it must happen within a legal, constitutional framework that is not artificially accelerated to the point that it sacrifices the humans living on the planet we ALL want to preserve.

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