War on coal trampling our rights

Federal agencies are supposed to evaluate the potential effects of new rules before implementing them. But the Environmental Protection Agency, goaded on by President Barack Obama, has refused – not failed, in a passive sense, but actively refused – to consider the brutal impact its war on coal will have on tens of millions of Americans.

At the same time, Obama and the EPA have shut the legislative branch of government, Congress, out of the process of deciding environmental policy. Obama has said more than once that he will use executive orders to bypass Congress.

That leaves concerned Americans just a single, narrow avenue to protect ourselves against the higher electricity rates and devastation of entire states that are part and parcel of Obama’s war on coal.

This week, Murray Energy Corp. filed a lawsuit in federal court, seeking to force the EPA to obey the law. Murray, based in Belmont County, Ohio, is the nation’s fifth-largest coal producer. It has extensive operations in the Northern Panhandle of West Virginia.

Company officials had contacted the EPA previously, notifying the agency of an intention to sue over coal-related rules. EPA officials did not even provide the courtesy of a reply to the firm’s letter.

This is far from the first time the EPA has been sued over its war on coal and affordable electricity rates. In some cases, federal judges have ruled the agency was not following its own rules.

Murray’s contention is well-founded. The company’s suit points out the EPA has failed to evaluate the true cost of its anti-coal regulations.

Indeed, EPA officials have made it clear they will not tolerate any questions about their policy. Last year’s “listening tour” by agency officials, allegedly seeking public comment on emissions regulations, stopped in 11 U.S. cities. Not one of them was in a region where coal and/or coal-fired power plants are important.

In bypassing Congress, Obama has eliminated one of the checks and balances the nation’s founders put in place to guard against government abuses. Unfortunately, liberal lawmakers refuse to object.

That leaves just one check on the EPA’s rampant abuse of power – the courts. Good for Murray Energy and others who are refusing the allow the White House to trample our rights.