Thank goodness some in the judiciary are willing to stand up to the Obama administration and its Environmental Protection Agency, which continues to appeal rejections of its attempt to choke the life out of the domestic coal industry.
Last week, the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia denied the administration's request for another hearing on tightened restrictions for power plant pollution, saying a majority of its judges opposed reconsidering the case.
EPA officials had claimed their new rules would reduce pollution they say contributes to unhealthy air in neighboring states. But the federal appeals court panel backed up its August ruling that the cross-state air pollution rule overstepped the EPA's authority. The judges blamed the EPA for imposing "massive emissions reduction requirements" on upwind states without regard to limits imposed by law.
Disregarding the limits of the law has become a common theme with the EPA. It is a shame it continues to do so while market forces already have the coal industry in a bind.
Energy Information Administration figures indicate coal stockpiles had been above average in the U.S. for 11 straight months, as of November. Competition with cheaper fuels, primarily natural gas, have factored into this supply glut. And of course, coal companies are likely to react to such information by lowering production.
Why, then, does the EPA look at an industry already in a weakened state and decide to keep trying to get in its licks?
Fortunately, at least one federal appeals court has decided it will not tolerate such bullying, no matter who is encouraging it.