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WV AG Patrick Morrisey files US Supreme Court brief opposing new EPA rule

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West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey filed a brief with the U.S. Supreme Court Nov. 7 opposing the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's new rule on cross-state air pollution.

West Virginia is joined in the brief by a bipartisan group of attorneys general from several other states, including Arizona, Kentucky, Missouri, Montana, North Dakota and Wyoming.

"Under the law, states are supposed to be given the opportunity to come into compliance with the federal rules," Morrisey said. "The federal government said no, we are going to issue this one-size-fits-all statement, and we're not going to allow states like West Virginia and others to take their unique concerns into account."

Morrisey said he believes the brief marks the first time in at least two decades that a Mountain State attorney general has led the writing of a brief in the U.S. Supreme Court involving the EPA.

The amicus, or friend of the court, brief argues the EPA exceeded its authority under the federal Clean Air Act when the agency promulgated a rule in 2011, announcing new air pollution cuts and imposing federal implementation plans on states. The brief also argues the CAA requires the EPA to give states an opportunity to decide how to meet new air pollution standards.

"West Virginia jobs are put in jeopardy because these federal standards are not designed with West Virginia in mind," Morrisey said.

The brief supports 15 other states along with industry groups and labor organizations who sued the EPA on the issue in 2011, and in August 2012 the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit struck down the regulation, saying it "exceeds the agency's statutory authority."

The Supreme Court agreed earlier this year to review the rule.

Oral argument before the Supreme Court will take place in December, and a decision is expected by next June.