Mining industry asks court to freeze Obama climate rules

The mining industry is asking a federal appeals court to stay President Obama's Clean Power Plan until all lawsuits against the rule have been heard.

The National Mining Association joined 16 states and business groups Friday in pressing the court to hear their legal arguments opposing the power plant rules, which they argue will raise energy prices and cause grid instability.

The legal action follows the publication of the rules in the Federal Register, the final stage for the rules to become law, thereby making them challengeable in the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals.

"The rule's publication in the Federal Register today formally sets in motion a protracted process for legal challenges to the rule," the group said. The states and industry groups had sued the Obama administration over the plan last year, before the rule was made final and published. The court rejected that suit for not being timely. The D.C. Circuit court can act on a regulation only after it becomes law and published in the Federal Register.

Hal Quinn, CEO for the mining group, said the industry is "asking the court to weigh carefully the far-reaching harm this rule will inflict immediately, well in advance of its effective date" of 2022. He says the "immediacy of substantial harm from this power plant rule is plain from EPA's own data that show it will cause more than 200 coal-fired power plants to close before courts have time to decide the legality of the rule." Therefore, staying the rule — effectively putting it on ice — would stop the compliance clock until a decision can be made on its legality.