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Attorney General Visits Local Counties

By Staff | Oct 14, 2015

State Attorney General Patrick Morrisey visited Tyler and Wetzel counties recently to talk about plans to assist county leaders and about the latest battle to protect coal.

Morrisey said the attorney general’s office is working with national, state and county leaders to combat the prescription drug problem.

“On a national level, we work with other states’ attorney generals to come up with policies that are going to have a positive impact on the pharmaceutical supply chain,” Morrisey said. “It’s our goal to develop best practices and work in conjunction with physicians, pharmacies, wholesalers, manufactures and the government in order to tackle this prescription pill epidemic. It is a serious problem.”

Morrisey said the attorney general’s office seeks to coordinate resources so as ensure their effective use — no duplication.

“We’re trying to collaborate with local, state and federal officials about better ways that we can avoid duplication of effort around the state,” he said. “We’ve been talking with U.S. Attorney’s office and local officials. We’re trying to explore different ways we can work together in a way to maximize the effort that everyone is putting in. In my travels around the state’s 55 counties, there appears to be some duplication of resources. With more coordination and communication, we might be able to apply the resources a little bit better.

Among other matters, Morrisey spoke of how the attorney general’s office assisted Tyler County efforts to digitize court documents. He said that collaboration resulted in a grant that aids the county in digitization plans.

“That’s a great thing — the attorney general’s office can play a very positive role in helping counties out, but we need to know what some of the issues are so as to provide assistance, he said. “That’s why we’re up in Tyler and Wetzel counties talking with people about different things we can do to provide assistance.”

Morrisey said he hopes exchange ideas between the attorney general’s office and local leaders as well as discover more about their needs during his tour of the area.

“We want to talk to local leaders and learn more about what they need, so as we can be a voice for Tyler and Wetzel counties back in Charleston,” he said.

Morrisey discussed the state’s latest battle with the federal Environmental Protection Agency. The attorney’s general’s office filed a Freedom of Information Act request last week for communications between the EPA and the Federal Register regarding the Clean Power Plan (CPP Rule).The request was joined by 14 States, including West Virginia, Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Nebraska, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Texas, Wisconsin, and Kentucky.

“We’re looking to get into court and to protect West Virginia interests,” Morrisey said. “West Virginia is very negatively affected by this rule.”

Morrisey said the states are experiencing significant harm attempting to comply with EPA’s demands because the now-final CPP Rule forces certain deadlines for plan submissions by the states regardless of the date of publication.

The new rule directly impacts coal, so state directed lawsuits seek to curb the EPA’s power. But before a state can file a lawsuit, the rule must be published officially in the Federal Register.

Morrisey said the EPA has been slow to publish the rule.

“West Virginia is being harmed,” Morrisey said. “While we are in this no-man’s land, we can’t go to court, but the state is still expected to begin working on its own plan to come into compliance. Yet, we think there are compelling legal reasons why we don’t think this rule will ever see the light of day.”