SALT LAKE CITY — The owner of a Utah coal mine where nine workers died as the result of a cave-in seven years ago filed a federal lawsuit Monday against the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
Ohio-based Murray Energy Corp. claims the EPA illegally makes "senseless and destructive regulations" that put people out of work and hurt families. The agency fails to consider jobs losses in issuing rules as the Clean Air Act requires, according to the complaint filed in U.S. District Court in West Virginia.
Murray Energy wants the court to force the EPA to end its "disastrous war on coal," assess job losses nationwide and reveal the true costs of the Obama administration's "failed" environmental policies.
“The Clean Air Act is crystal clear in requiring the EPA to evaluate the negative impact that their regulations will have on jobs, but they have repeatedly been derelict in their duty," Murray Energy general counsel Gary M. Broadbent said in a statement. “We must defend these jobs, families and America, and force the EPA and President Obama to comply with the law.”
The EPA has closed or identified for closure at least 392 coal-fired electric power plants, causing the loss of about 100,000 megawatts of electricity, according to the company.
Murray Energy is one of the nation's largest employers in the coal industry, providing 7,200 jobs and operating 13 coal mines in six states, including Utah.
The company owns the Crandall Canyon mine where six miners died when the roof collapsed in August 2007. Three rescuers died attempting to reach the trapped workers.
Mine operator Genwal Resources Inc., a subsidiary of Murray Energy, paid a $1.1 million fine in a settlement with the federal Mine Safety and Health Administration.
Genwal denied that any of the violations led to the deadly collapse, which leveled a section of the mine as large as 63 football fields. From the start, Murray Energy chief Bob Murray insisted that an earthquake triggered the cave-in.