EPA Must Examine Effects of Clean Air Act Regulations on Jobs

By Vaneeta Chintamaneni, The National Law Review.

Under a recent summary judgment decision from a federal district judge, the EPA must continuously examine the effects that certain Clean Air Act (CAA) regulations have on employment in the coal industry specifically and other industries more broadly. This means the EPA will be subject to increased requirements before taking action under the CAA. The ruling also suggests that additional requirements could be imposed on the EPA under similar provisions in other environmental statutes, such as the Clean Water Act, the Toxic Substances Control Act, the Solid Waste Disposal Act, and CERCLA.

Murray Energy’s Lawsuit Against the EPA

The ruling arises from a March 24, 2014 lawsuit filed by coal company Murray Energy and its affiliates and subsidiaries (Murray Energy) against the EPA in the District Court for the Northern District of West Virginia. The lawsuit alleged, and the court agreed, that the EPA failed to conduct any employment analyses required by Section 321(a) when administering and enforcing the CAA. Murray Energy wanted to force the EPA to examine whether its administration and enforcement of the CAA in recent years had led to job loss in the coal industry. It also sought to prevent the EPA from approving new regulations affecting the coal industry until it conducted a job analysis.