Mining group asks EPA to stay its climate rule

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The National Mining Association (NMA) is asking the Obama administration to stay its climate change rule for power plants pending judicial review.

The Washington D.C.-based national trade organization said the new rule from the Environmental Protection Agency, which President Obama will announce later today, is going to increase energy costs.

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“EPA’s final Clean Power Plan reflects political expediency, not reality for supplying the nation with low cost reliable power,” NMA President and CEO Hal Quinn said in a statement. “Left in place are targets for replacing affordable energy with costly energy.”

Under the rule, the EPA is asking states to formulate plans to reduce carbon emissions by 32 percent from 2005 levels by 2030. Plans are due in September of 2016, but states that need more time will be able to request a two-year extension for final plan submissions. Compliance would begin in 2022 instead of 2020 and emission reductions would be phased in gradually up to 2030.

In a letter to EPA Administrator Gina McCarthyGina McCarthyThe Clean Water Rule: One year later How Congress got to yes on toxic chemical reform Overnight Energy: Labor rift opens over green mega-donor MORE, the NMA said the climate change rules are likely to be reversed on appeal, because Congress did not give the agency the power to restructure how the nation produces and consumes electricity.

“Congress did not even give the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, much less EPA, that power,” the letter said. “Instead, Congress, in the Federal Power Act, preserved states’ inherent power over electric utility resource planning and development.”

Since more than 90 percent of coal sold in the U.S. is used for power generation, the NMA said the EPA rule would also cripple domestic coal production and eliminate thousands of mining jobs. The group is pushing the agency to stay the effectiveness of the rule until after it’s litigated on its merits.

“All of this time, effort, money and controversy will be for naught if the rule is overturned,” the NMA said in its letter to the EPA. “Worse, changes to the grid that states would not choose to make absent the rule will be locked in if a stay is not issued.”

During a press briefing Monday, White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest was asked whether the administration would consider the National Mining Association’s request for a stay of the clean power plan.

“I’m not aware of any decision to do that,” he said.

NMA wasn’t the only industry group voicing its opposition to the rule on Monday. The National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) said it's keeping all options on the table, including litigation, to protect manufacturers' ability to compete in the global marketplace.

"This regulation will be exceptionally difficult for manufacturers to meet and will increase energy prices and threaten electric reliability,” NAM President and CEO Jay Timmons said in a statement. “Manufacturers are committed to being responsible stewards of our environment, leading the way in that effort, and we are disappointed the Obama administration has chosen to pursue this path.”

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce said it's also considering litigation to stop the rule it's calling “an EPA regulatory power grab,” from taking effect.

“While the final rule will take some time to analyze, we know that it still has the same fundamental legal flaws and imposes the same unbearable costs as the original proposal, while having no measurable impact on global emissions,” Chamber President and CEO Thomas Donohue said in a statement. “With these rules, the EPA is trying to stretch its authority beyond recognition and to double down on its attempt to impose an unprecedented takeover of our energy system.”  

Jodan Fabian contributed to this report, which was updated at 1:14 p.m.