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Murray CEO: Supreme Court stay ‘portends’ EPA’s Clean Power Plan will eventually be overturned

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — The president and CEO of Murray Energy Corporation is taking Tuesday’s decision from the U.S. Supreme Court to temporarily halt the implementation of the Environmental Protection Agency’s Clean Power Plan as a sign that the entire plan will eventually be tossed.

“It portends that we will overturn the illegal climate change agenda of the destructive Obama Administration,” predicted Bob Murray on Wednesday’s MetroNews “Talkline,” a day after the Supreme Court granted an emergency request for a delay¬†until legal challenges are resolved.

Three years ago, Murray Energy filed the lawsuit against the EPA’s proposed emission limits for existing coal-fired power plants and, at that time, Murray said he knew would be “an uphill fight.”

Later, 29 states, including West Virginia, joined the effort.

“It is our case and I’m very happy that we’ve been able to stay this illegal government overreach for our coal miners and for the state of West Virginia,” Murray told Hoppy Kercheval.

The temporary stay may be an indication a majority of justices are skeptical about the Clean Power Plan’s legality, according to court observers.

Those in the majority with the 5-4 decision were Chief Justice John Roberts, Justice Antonin Scalia, Justice Anthony Kennedy, Justice Clarence Thomas and Justice Samuel Alito. All were appointed by Republicans.

“It’s good news and, good heavens, we need some good news. There’s no question about that,” said Bill Raney, president of the West Virginia Coal Association, of the stay.

“Anything like this is a good, positive story — an arm of the federal government has, all of the sudden, had a positive decision about something that is so devastating and that we’ve been dealing with for years here.”

The new limits in the proposed Clean Power Plan are designed to reduce carbon emissions from existing coal-fired power plants by 30 percent on average, compared with 2005 levels, before 2030.

Within it, states are charged with developing their own pathways to get to established individualized emissions limits or targets.

Before the ruling, state plans for compliance with the Clean Power Plan or requests for yearlong extensions were due by the middle of 2016. It was not immediately clear if that deadline would stand.

“We remain confident we will prevail on the merits,” said Josh Earnest, White House spokesperson, after the Supreme Court’s Tuesday decision on the stay — what was called an “unprecedented” and “historic” action.

“The Clean Power Plan is based on a strong legal and technical foundation, gives states the time and flexibility they need to develop tailored, cost-effective plans to reduce their emissions, and will deliver better air quality, improved public health, clean energy investment and jobs across the country, and major progress in our efforts to confront the risks posed by climate change,” a White House statement read.

“We’re disappointed the rule has been stayed, but you can’t stay climate change and you can’t stay climate action,” said Melissa Harrison, EPA spokesperson, in a separate statement.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit is scheduled to hear oral arguments on the legal challenge to the Clean Power Plan on June 2-3. A ruling could come later this year.

With that schedule, any appeal could make it to the U.S. Supreme Court by 2017, after President Obama leaves office.

“This rule would destroy so many lives,” Murray said. “We are fighting for our survival here.”

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