Rising GOP star in West Virginia fight for coal against EPA

Staff Writer
Columbus CEO

CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) — West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey has gained newfound prominence among Republicans by challenging the Obama administration's clean power plan.

The 48-year-old transplanted New Jersey native leads a group of several mostly Republican states who are suing to try to overturn federal greenhouse gas rules.

Pressed by Morrisey's group, the U.S. Supreme Court recently froze the Environmental Protection Agency's plan to reduce U.S. carbon-dioxide emissions 32 percent by 2030 — while legal challenges are pending.

In West Virginia, seven coal-fired power plants have shut in recent years and more than 1,000 miners have been laid off since December alone.

Elected in 2012, West Virginia's first GOP attorney general in eight decades has made fighting "federal overreach" his mantra.