Clean Air Act §321(a) requires the EPA to monitor job losses due to the agency’s environmental regulations. In March 2014, Murray Energy, an Ohio-based coal company, commenced a civil action in federal court alleging that the agency has failed to perform its §321(a) responsibilities with regard to monitoring the employment impact of the agency’s war on coal. Murray Energy’s unprecedented lawsuit survived EPA’s early legal maneuvering, and on May 29th, 2015, West Virginia federal district court judge John Preston Bailey allowed Murray to proceed with discovery against EPA, including depositions, with the purpose of discerning how EPA is accounting for the coal sector job losses that are attributable to the agency’s suite of anti-energy regulations.
EPA appealed Judge Bailey’s order, but the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals denied EPA’s request without explanation on July 9th. After conducting initial discovery, Murray Energy on October 7th notified EPA that it intended to depose EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy, and the company scheduled a tentative deposition date of November 24th.
EPA requested that Judge Bailey block the scheduled deposition, but yesterday, he denied the agency’s motion. EPA has appealed the matter to the Fourth Circuit, which will decide on the matter before the deposition is set to occur on November 24th.