EPA chief won’t be deposed in coal lawsuit

EPA chief won’t be deposed in coal lawsuit
© Greg Nash

Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Gina McCarthyRegina (Gina) McCarthyOvernight Energy: Senate Dems introduce Green New Deal alternative | Six Republicans named to House climate panel | Wheeler confirmed to lead EPA Overnight Energy: Joshua Tree National Park lost M in fees due to shutdown | Dem senator, AGs back case against oil giants | Trump officials secretly shipped plutonium to Nevada Overnight Energy: Ethics panel clears Grijalva over settlement with staffer | DC aims to run on 100 percent clean energy by 2032 | Judges skeptical of challenge to Obama smog rule MORE will not be deposed in a coal company’s lawsuit against the agency. 

In a Wednesday decision, the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals issued an order blocking a scheduled deposition for McCarthy in the case. 

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Murray Energy Corp., one of the nation’s largest coal producers, has sued the EPA over its regulatory agenda, arguing the agency doesn’t properly how its rules will affect employment before issuing them. The company wanted McCarthy deposed as part of the case, a move a lower court granted earlier this month. 

The EPA had asked the federal appeals court to block that decision, but Murray lawyers said their case would “easily justify” a McCarthy disposition. 

“The district court rightly found extraordinary circumstances justify Administrator McCarthy’s deposition and the district court’s determination that there is no viable alternative to the deposition in this case does not amount to a judicial usurpation of power,” Murray attorneys wrote in a brief filed last week. 

Federal lawyers maintained that the EPA had cooperated with the lawsuit, providing more than 130,000 pages of documents and depositions of lower-level officials. 

“There is no reason to believe that Administrator McCarthy’s deposition could provide essential information about the EPA’s alleged noncompliance,” agency lawyers wrote in a brief. 

In a two-page decision on Wednesday, an appeals court panel agreed and blocked her deposition.