By The Associated Press Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt on Wednesday filed an emergency motion to block a lawsuit brought by environmental groups seeking to require the agency to regulate coal mining standards in states that have rejected the Clean Power Plan.
The EPA’s request comes amid rising tensions between the Obama administration and Republican-led states that had rejected the sweeping new rules to cut carbon emissions from power plants and protect the environment.
Pruitt has been leading the EPA’s response to the Trump administration’s rollback of environmental regulations under the Clean Water Act.
The new administration is expected to withdraw the U.S. from the Paris climate agreement and withdraw the United States from the Kyoto Protocol on global warming.
The Trump administration has proposed sweeping changes to environmental rules that could slash millions of jobs and threaten economic growth across the country, but Pruitt and others have been sharply critical of the rules, calling them “political correctness at its worst.”
In the filing, Pruitt said that a ruling from the 9th U.D. Circuit Court of Appeals would likely determine the agency’s position and put in doubt any claims by plaintiffs who are not in the court.
The filing came as Pruitt and other top Trump administration officials have met privately with some state attorneys general to discuss the environmental standards.
Puestes filing was the latest move by Pruitt to try to stymie litigation in the case.
The EPA’s office of general counsel filed a brief in April asking a federal judge in Washington state not to allow the lawsuit to proceed.
Pruitt’s office also asked a federal appeals court to stop the lawsuit.
In an emailed statement Wednesday, the EPA said that the court’s decision would make it more difficult to enforce the law.
Pruitt and the Trump White House did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Pruitt’s filing.
Peters filing came a day after Pruitt issued a memo saying he would not enforce the Clean Air Act as president and the EPA would not require states to follow the new standards.
Pruitt said the Clean Clean Power plan, signed into law in 2020, would force states to adopt more stringent pollution rules, and that the EPA will not enforce those rules.
The Clean Power Act and the Paris agreement are among the most stringent and costliest regulations ever created by the U-S.
Environmental Protection Administration.
In a statement Wednesday afternoon, Pruitt’s administration said it has “worked to minimize legal risks” for the rule, including the litigation.
It said the agency has spent nearly $300 million in the past four years “to address the impacts of the rule.”
The EPA said it would not comment further on Pruitts filing.
In its statement, the agency said that it has repeatedly and successfully argued that the Clean Energy Act was an integral part of the nation’s economic growth and that EPA’s regulatory actions are necessary to meet the national health, safety and environmental requirements of the Clean Environment Act.
It added that it is also a critical tool in our efforts to protect the health and well-being of the American people.