WASHINGTON, DC – U.S. Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell announced today that he filed an amicus brief in the United States Supreme Court to support Kentucky’s coal miners, their families, small businesses and all those negatively affected by the Administration’s War on Coal. Senator McConnell’s amicus brief was joined by Senator Rand Paul and Congressmen Hal Rogers, Ed Whitfield, Brett Guthrie, Thomas Massie and Andy Barr of Kentucky. Congressman Lamar Smith (R-TX), Chairman of the House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology, also joined the brief. 

The amicus brief was filed in a sequel case (Utility Air Regulatory Group v. Environmental Protection Agency) to the Supreme Court’s 2007 ruling in Massachusetts v. Environmental Protection Agency that the EPA may regulate greenhouse gases as hazardous pollutants under the Clean Air Act – which resulted in the EPA’s 2010 first-ever permitting requirements for motor vehicles, known as the “Tailpipe Rule.” The EPA has since used the Tailpipe Rule to trigger regulations on coal-fired power plants and other stationary sources.

Senator McConnell (R-KY) said: “The President and the EPA have been misusing the 2007 ruling and subsequent regulations on automobiles to overregulate new and existing coal-fired power plants out of business, thus escalating their war on coal and Kentucky jobs. I am filing this amicus brief with the Supreme Court today because I believe the Obama Administration is usurping the lawmaking power. The EPA should not have used the Tailpipe Rule to further regulate coal-fired power plants. This is just another EPA power grab in their ongoing crusade to shut down our nation’s coal mines, and it must be stopped.”

Senator Rand Paul (R-KY) said: “This case is an egregious example of the EPA’s violation of the law in pursuit of its overzealous, anti-coal agenda. The ability to create laws is the purview of Congress and the EPA has clearly overstepped its authority. In doing so, accountability has been thrown out the window and Kentucky families are left with nothing but frustration and the likelihood of even higher energy costs and more job losses.”

Congressman Hal Rogers (KY-05) said: "The EPA's power-grabbing schemes are unbelievable, and unconstitutional. This federal agency wants to bend the rules to suit its own agenda by undermining the authority of Congress. Time and again, the courts have struck down the overreaching arm of the EPA, and I hope that our highest court will see through the agency's efforts to impose one-size-fits-all regulations on greenhouse gas emissions. No region has realized the cost of the EPA's job-killing regulations more than the Central Appalachian coalfields, where power plants and mines are shutting down, and thousands of coal miners are losing their jobs every year. "

Congressman Ed Whitfield (KY-01) said: “President Obama and his EPA have once again moved forward with an extreme regulation that makes it illegal to build a coal-fired electricity plant in America.  This move is another attempt to bankrupt the coal industry to fulfill a campaign promise to radical environmentalists. As Chairman of the Energy and Power Subcommittee, I look forward to working with Senator McConnell as well as other Republicans and Democrats in the United States Congress to take any action possible to prevent this regulation from taking effect.  We simply cannot afford to place America at an economic disadvantage, particularly when CO2 energy-related emissions are at their lowest levels in 20 years.”

Congressman Brett Guthrie (KY-02) said: “A June 2013 report from the Kentucky Energy and Environment Cabinet indicated that 92 percent of Kentuckians get their energy from coal-fired power plants. With more than 14,000 Kentuckians employed in the industry, coal quite literally keeps the lights on. Coal should remain a part of our all-of-the-above energy policy, and we must do all that we can to protect these jobs and increase our access to affordable energy. The future of the Commonwealth depends on it.”

Congressman Thomas Massie (KY-04) said: "The EPA acted unconstitutionally by re-writing a statute passed by Congress. The Constitution reserves lawmaking authority for the legislative branch, not unelected bureaucrats in the executive branch. This is another example of the Administration’s repeated attempts to undermine the voice of the American people and force their anti-coal, anti-jobs agenda upon the Commonwealth of Kentucky."

Congressman Andy Barr (KY-06) said: “This case is an important opportunity for the Supreme Court to make clear that the EPA’s legislation by regulation aimed at killing the coal industry and stifling our economic recovery is unconstitutional. For the EPA to amend or misinterpret unambiguous provisions of the Clean Air Act to advance its War on Coal is not acceptable and it intrudes on Congress’s lawmaking authority as reserved by the Constitution. Just because the votes for the President’s environmental agenda don’t exist in either the House or the Senate, doesn’t change the fact that the EPA’s overreach is unlawful.”


Background: An amicus brief is a brief filed in a court by someone who is not a party in the case.  Such briefs may supplement the legal arguments made by the parties and can aid the court by bringing to its attention aspects of the case not covered by the parties, such as the impact of the issues in the case on  third parties.