CLARKSBURG, W.Va. — Chris Hamilton, the Vice President of the West Virginia Coal Association, does not think Senator Joe Manchin should need any additional input on the nomination of Merrick Garland to the U.S. Supreme Court.
“Justice Garland is a sitting judge on the D.C. Circuit, and he’s had a number of EPA cases before him,” Hamilton said Tuesday on the MetroNews-affiliated “The Mike Queen Show” on the AJR News Network. “And he has, almost without exception, upheld the agency’s rules, rule making, and requirements that it has proposed and implemented.”
The WV Coal Association sent an open letter to Senator Manchin expressing their disapproval of the nominee.
“We’d like to see Senator Manchin join with the core of U.S. senators who have vowed not to seat Justice Garland,” he said.
Garland has been at the center of a largely partisan fight between Democrats and Republicans in Washington D.C. over whether or not the Senate would hold any confirmation hearings–or even meet with Garland–following his nomination to fill the vacancy on the U.S. Supreme Court in the wake of Justice Antonin Scalia’s death.
Hamilton said his association wouldn’t support a nomination that supported the Clean Power Plan, which is facing myriad legal challenges.
“That’s what prompted the letter to Senator Manchin,” he said. “Just remind him of the fact that this Clean Power Plan remains as this President’s center piece of his Administration.”
Hamilton was quick to blame the EPA and the Obama Administration for the losses suffered by the coal industry.
“That program has resulted in the complete decimation of the state’s coal industry, shutting down record number of mines, laying off of thousands and thousands of miners practically just destroying our state’s economy,” he said.
Senator Manchin reportedly met with Garland on Tuesday.
Since President Obama announced Garland as the nominee, Manchin held a town hall in Charleston to discuss it with constituents.
He also vowed not to support the nomination if Garland was “adamantly entrenched” against the fossil fuel industry.