A U.S. court of appeals has struck down the Environmental Protection Agency's latest regulation of America's coal industry.
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit ruled 2-1 Tuesday that the agency overstepped its legal authority with the cross-state air pollution policy. The rule sought to limit dioxide and nitrogen oxide emissions from power plants in 29 states.
Coal miners consider the ruling a win for their industry, which has struggled to get investor support for new technology that could help pave the way toward energy independence for the United States.
"It's got a long history and people rely on that history to refer to it as a dirty fossil fuel, and you do. You get your hands black when you touch it, and it's dusty," West Virginia Coal Association President Bill Raney said.
"But we've learned how to control the dust and you know we're getting better every day at that," he added.
In West Virginia, developers of the Adams Fork Energy Plant say converting coal into liquid fuel could ultimately help lower rising gas prices.
Their goal is to produce 250 million gallons of methanol that could also be used for gas, jet fuel, diesel fuel, and more.
Republican Sen. James Inhofe, a vocal opponent of the EPA, applauded the ruling.
"The Obama-EPA continues to demonstrate that it will stop at nothing in its determination to kill coal," Reuters quoted the Oklahoma lawmaker. "With so much economic pain in store, it is fortunate that EPA [regulation] was sent back to the drawing board."