Mine worker union challenges Biden climate rule in court

A union representing miners has filed a legal challenge to a Biden administration climate rule.

The United Mine Workers of America filed a petition to try to undo a Biden regulation requiring coal plants to capture their emissions or shut down. The rule is expected to accelerate the nation’s movement away from coal power.

“The impact of this rule will be devastating not only for our members but for thousands of families throughout coalfield communities,” said union President Cecil Roberts in a written statement. “There are no equivalent jobs ready or even in the pipeline to replace the jobs that will be lost.”

Roberts also invoked a 2022 Supreme Court decision saying that the Environmental Protection Agency could not explicitly mandate a shift toward different energy sources.

“We further believe this rule does not meet the bar set by the Supreme Court,” he said.

While the rule is expected to fuel the shift away from coal, the high-emitting power source was already declining on its own amid growth in renewables and natural gas.

The rule is also facing challenges from Republican-led states and the industry. But the mine workers’ filing illustrates a broader challenge for the Biden administration as it works to balance the interests of climate and labor.

The administration, which says it is the most pro-labor in history, has sought to make the case that climate and labor can go hand in hand, through climate jobs programs. It has run into similar issues with autoworkers amid the transition to electric vehicles.

However, the autoworkers union eventually endorsed Biden, while the mine union has said it would not make an endorsement in the November election, saying that no candidates adequately support miners.

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