WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, U.S. Senator Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.), Ranking Member of the Senate Environment and Public Works (EPW) Committee, released the below statement on the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announcing the reinstatement of the “appropriate and necessary” finding for the Mercury and Air Toxics Standards (MATS) regulation that covers generation from coal- and oil-fired power plants.

“With today’s announcement, we are once again reminded that the Biden administration’s end goal is to shut down American coal plants, fire American coal workers, and do everything in its power to make America less energy independent. We’ve seen this movie before,” Ranking Member Capito said. “We’ve experienced the damage these regulations have done across our country, including in West Virginia. It’s not surprising this administration is returning to these Obama-era rules, which resulted in coal facilities closed and the livelihoods of entire towns decimated. Worse, using the same flawed math behind the original MATS rule now indicates where this administration plans to go from here. The result will be more job losses and more misery for American families in the coalfields and industrial towns that keep our national economy moving.”


By reinstating this finding, the EPA is taking the first step to updating the MATS rule and further tightening its standards on coal- and oil-fired power plants. The original MATS rule was finalized in 2012 and went into effect, contributing to the closure of numerous coal plants across the country and in West Virginia, before it was struck down by the Supreme Court.

In 2015, the Supreme Court held 5-4 in Michigan v. EPA that the EPA interpreted the "appropriate and necessary" language unreasonably when it deemed costs irrelevant to the decision to regulate power plants. In that ruling, the Court stated, "One would not say that it is even rational, never mind 'appropriate,' to impose billions of dollars in economic costs in return for a few dollars in health or environmental benefits."

Reviving this failed “appropriate and necessary” finding will allow the EPA to use criteria irrelevant to the actual regulation being considered to justify its costs, showcasing the EPA’s approach to making the rulemaking process even more opaque, and increasing the likelihood of the agency overstepping its legal authority as it crafts several significant rules currently listed on its regulatory agenda.

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