Nation’s largest coal mining company files suit to block new regulations

Nation’s largest coal mining company files suit to block new regulations

Murray Energy Corporation [corporate website], the largest privately owned coal company in the US, filed a lawsuit [complaint, PDF] last Thursday in an attempt to block new regulations promulgated by the Office of Surface Mining, Reclamation and Enforcement (OSMRE) [website]. The lawsuit was filed two days after the agency announced its decision on the new rule. In its complaint, which was filed in the United States District Court for the District of Columbia [website], the Ohio-based company claims that the OSMRE’s Stream Protection Rule [text, PDF] would “devastate” its coal mining operations. In a statement [press release] regarding the new regulation, the OSMRE claims the SPR was enacted to “improve the balance between environmental protection and providing for the Nation’s need for coal as a source of energy.” In addition to its claim that the OSMRE does not have the authority to enact such a rule under the Surface Mining Control and Regulation Act [text, PDF], Murray Energy also claims that the new rule, unless block by a federal judge, could have a crippling effect on the industry and the communities that rely on it;

Banning longwall mining will devastate coal communities, result in widespread job losses, and hollow out state and local government budgets that rely on the revenue coal mining brings. The rule will also devastate Plaintiff Murray Energy Corporation which is the nation’s predominant longwall mining company, by stranding billions of tons of the company’s coal reserves and billions of dollars of the company’s capital in violation of the Fifth Amendment to the United States Constitution.

Throughout Barack Obama’s presidency, federal agencies have made climate change and the reduction of emissions a priority. A highly divided US Supreme Court ruled [opinion, PDF] 5-4 last June that the EPA could not make regulations [JURIST report] regarding the toxic emissions of power plants without considering costs. In August the EPA proposed new rules [JURIST report] to cut methane emissions by the oil and gas industry, as part of the Obama administration’s commitment to taking action on climate change. Earlier this week Obama announced a ban [JURIST report] on offshore drilling as a preemptive opposition to the Trump administration.