A federal appeals court on Thursday said the Environmental Protection Agency is not required to report on the number of coal jobs that would be lost because of its regulations.
The 4th Circuit Court of Appeals in Richmond reversed a lower court's decision requiring the coal job reporting, saying lawsuits cannot force the EPA to conduct such studies.
"A court is ill-equipped to supervise" such a "complex process," the three-judge appeals court panel ruled on Thursday. The Clean Air Act does not allow lawsuits to force jobs studies, it continued.
"This statutory language, in our view, does not impose on the EPA a specific and discreet duty," the decision said. "Rather, Section 321(a) — when read as a whole — imposes on the EPA a broad, open-ended statutory mandate."
The ruling reversed a district court judge's decision last year on a lawsuit brought by coal giant Murray Energy to force EPA to conduct the coal jobs study.
Bob Murray, the company's CEO, is a big supporter of President Trump. The judges on the appeals court panel were appointed by President Barack Obama.