19 states ask Supreme Court to limit EPA authority in order to protect jobs

West Virginia AG Patrick Morrisey filed a lawsuit against the Obama administration in 2015 over his Clean Power Plan

Nineteen states are asking the U.S. Supreme Court to limit the Environment Protection Agency's authority to protect energy jobs.

West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey is leading the charge with support from attorneys general representing Alabama, Alaska, Arkansas, Georgia, Indiana, Kansas, Louisiana, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Texas, Utah and Wyoming, as well as the governor of Mississippi.

The coalition argues that the D.C. Court of Appeals made a misjudgment in allowing the EPA to "decarbonize" various sectors of the economy "without congressional input" based on Section 111 of the Clean Air Act, targetting "factories and power plants, as well as the millions of homes and small businesses that use natural gas for heat."


Biden last week announced his goal of cutting U.S. carbon emissions in half from 2005 levels by 2030 at a climate summit with dozens of other world leaders.

"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 in a Friday statement.

He continued: "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 Dave Johnson coal-fired power plant is silhouetted against the morning sun in Glenrock, Wyo. (AP Photo/J. David Ake, File)

Morrisey filed a lawsuit against the Obama administration in 2015 over the former president's Clean Power Plan aimed at cutting U.S. carbon emissions from power plants. The attorney general alleged the implementation of such a policy exceeded the EPA's mandate.


In a rare move by the Supreme Court, a stay was issued on the suit in February of 2016, preventing the Clean Power Plan from being rolled out. The EPA under former President Trump replaced the Obama-era Clean Power Plan in January of 2019 and the appeals court dismissed the case without input from the Supreme Court. 

In January, however, the D.C. Circuit Court vacated the 2016 ruling and remanded it to the EPA  — a move West Virginia is currently contesting.

If the attorneys general is successful in overturning the decision and in proving government overreach through the EPA, they will be better positioned to fight Biden’s climate plan. Friday's petition states that the D.C. Appeals Court "ignored" the 2016 Supreme Court stay, "which the coalition argues should have hinted that the high court viewed existing law as limiting EPA’s authority – not expanding it."


A recent report from a working group comprising several federal agencies found that there is $37.9 billion in currently available funding across a wide variety of departments that can help support job creation, rural infrastructure and reclaiming abandoned mine lands.

"President Biden is committed to providing federal leadership in partnership with coal, oil and gas, and power plant communities to create good-paying union jobs, spur economic revitalization, remediate environmental degradation, and support energy workers," the report says.

Fox News' Caitlin McFall and The Associated Press contributed to this report.