The fight between President Obama’s EPA and the states intensified this week as the coalition opposing the agency’s new emissions regulations swelled to 16.
Led by West Virginia, whose coal mining industry is facing extinction should the rules be implemented, requested in a joint letter to the EPA that the new regulations be suspended while the states pursue the issue in federal court.
Though the EPA and the Obama administration have already indicated they will ignore the coalition’s argument, the formal request lays a precedent as the coalition intends to seek an immediate injunction from the judiciary until the matter can be decided.
The rules, for which Obama unveiled final versions this week, mark the first time in history that carbon emissions standards have been applied to existing power plants.
Republicans in the Senate are moving legislation as well to push back against what they argue is an EPA overreach, which will curb the rules should the state coalition prove unsuccessful in the courts.
The fight is likely to spill over as subject matter in the presidential debates in which Democrats could be challenged to balance the interests of Democrat voters in coal-industry states with a defense of the Obama administration.