West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey discussed efforts to reinvigorate coal mining and eradicate the state’s opioid drug epidemic during a meeting with President Donald Trump on Tuesday morning. Morrisey visited the White House as part of this week’s Winter Meeting of the National Association of Attorneys General.
“It was a pleasure to meet with President Trump. His invitation and willingness to meet with myself and fellow state attorneys general demonstrates his respect for cooperative federalism and the role of states in the fabric of our nation,” Morrisey said.
Morrisey says he also impressed upon President Trump the need to roll back unlawful regulations that have crippled coal mining communities in West Virginia, an issue that is critical to economic growth.
“I underscored the fact that eight years of job-killing regulation, including the so-called Clean Power Plan, has crippled investment in coal and devastated those who depend upon coal’s success,” Morrisey added.
“In regards to substance abuse, I discussed the need for a holistic approach to reduce the supply and demand of prescription opioids as well as an educational component necessary to prevent future addiction,” he said.
While in Washington, Morrisey stood alongside Trump for the official undoing of the Waters of the United States rule, an unlawful regulation that gave the federal government unprecedented control over small streams, farms and private property. The executive order, signed Tuesday at the White House directs the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to review the rule, begin efforts to rescind the regulation and take appropriate steps in ongoing litigation.
It dealt a striking blow to a regulation already stymied in federal court, thanks to a successful legal challenge brought by Attorney General Morrisey and a coalition of 31 states and state agencies.
“I’m proud to stand beside President Trump on this victorious day for our state and nation,” Morrisey said. “The President’s action punctuates more than a year of hard work by my office and our broad, bipartisan coalition.
“Together, our securing of a nationwide stay and President Trump’s action, has ensured that homeowners, farmers and a host of other property owners never realized the devastating impact of this burdensome and unlawful rule,” he continued.
The rule, issued in June 2015, allowed the EPA and the Army Corps of Engineers to assert federal authority over an untold number of small bodies of water, including roadside ditches, short-lived streams and any other area where water may flow once every 100 years. Morrisey and the coalition argued the rule violated the states’ authority to determine how to protect their land and water resources. They also cited U.S. Supreme Court precedent arguing twice in the past 15 years the court has ruled the agencies cannot assert jurisdiction over water and land features that are dry most of the year and lack a substantial connection to interstate navigable waters.
West Virginia challenged the rule alongside Alabama, Alaska, Arkansas, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Wisconsin and Wyoming, along with the North Carolina Dept. of Environment and Natural Resources, the New Mexico Environmental Engineer and the New Mexico State Engineer.