West Virginia Republicans urge governor to reject climate rules

West Virginia Republicans urge governor to reject climate rules
© Getty Images

West Virginia's U.S. House delegation has asked the state's governor to reject the Obama administration's proposed climate rule for power plants. 

The Republican lawmakers, led by Rep. David McKinleyDavid Bennett McKinleyTwo GOP Reps questioned by Israeli police during visit to holy site: report Senators offer bill to close rural-urban internet divide Lawmakers battle Trump, PhRMA on discount drug rule MORE (R-W.Va.), wrote a letter to Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin warning him that the rules could raise energy prices and hurt the state's coal producers. They said West Virginia should not write a state plan to comply with the carbon emission reduction targets the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)  is going to propose in its final Clean Power Plan rule.

The members said the rule is on "shaky legal ground" because it directs states to implement strategies to meet those emission reduction goals. 

"The EPA is trying to compel states to do more themselves than what the agency would be authorized to do on its own," the members — McKinley and Reps. Alex MooneyAlexander (Alex) Xavier MooneyGOP hits Obama administration over coal mining rule Overnight Energy: House approves bill delaying mining rule GOP bill blocking Obama coal rule set to hit House floor MORE and Evan JenkinsEvan Hollin JenkinsScott Walker backs West Virginia attorney general in GOP Senate primary Manchin: Pence attacking because bipartisan image ‘plays too well with the public’ West Virginia rep joins in Manchin bash-fest MORE — said in their letter. "By declining to submit a plan you will give the courts the necessary time to rule on whether the EPA's proposed rule is legal while giving Congress a chance to address its concerns with the plan."

Several states and Republican lawmakers have questioned the legality of the Clean Power Plan, and West Virginia is one of more than a dozen states that have sued the government over it. The EPA has defended the rule's legal standing and promised to justify it further when the agency releases the final version this summer.

Tomblin signed a bill in March giving the West Virginia Legislature authority over any strategy state regulators write to comply with the Clean Power Plan. If a state does not write its own plan, the federal government will step in and do it for them.

Oklahoma is the only state to formally say it will not write its own emissions reduction strategy, though officials in other states have hinted they may not comply, either.