By Jack McEvoy
The new spending bill that drew backing from Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., contains funding provisions that could allow the Environmental Protection Agency to work around the Supreme Court’s recent ruling reducing the agency’s ability to regulate emissions from coal plants.
The economic package would make $45 million available to the EPA to regulate greenhouse gases that come from major emitting facilities and stationary sources as part of the Clean Air Act. Such provisions could allow the EPA to circumvent the high court’s decision in West Virginia v. EPA allowing the federal agency to regulate carbon dioxide emissions from coal plants.
“Manchin got suckered,” Steve Milloy, founder of JunkScience.com and a member of former President Donald Trump’s EPA transition team, told the Daily Caller News Foundation.
“This is not helping West Virginia, none of it is,” Milloy said in reference to the bill’s provisions.
“This bill provides money to the EPA to regulate greenhouse gases and the authorization is implied,” he said. “The allowing of back-door regulation is very worrisome.”
Despite the bill’s support for EPA regulations on coal, a major industry in West Virginia, Manchin defended his support for the package in a Wednesday press release.
“The Inflation Reduction Act of 2022 addresses our nation’s energy and climate crisis,” Manchin said.
West Virginia is the nation’s second-largest producer of coal, accounting for 13% of the nation’s total coal output, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration. Coal mining also supported close to 27,000 jobs in the state and was responsible for $2.1 billion in employee wages in 2019, according to a West Virginia University study.
Senate Democrats’ bill states that the EPA will be funded to prevent pollution coming from non-road engines and vehicles, as well as emissions that could harm foreign countries.
In its June decision, the Supreme Court ruled that Congress did not grant the Environmental Protection Agency the authority to devise emissions caps based on the approach the agency took in the Clean Power Plan. However, EPA Administrator Michael Regan promised to deploy a “suite of tools” including the Clean Air Act, to regulate the power sector regardless of the court’s ruling.
The EPA and Manchin did not immediately respond to the Daily Caller News Foundation’s request for comment.