The Environmental Protection Agency says it could take two years to develop an accurate method for measuring the impact of its regulations on coal jobs.
In October, in response to a lawsuit from Murray Energy, one of the nation's largest coal companies, a federal district court judge in West Virginia ordered the EPA to start quantifying the impact of its air quality regulations on jobs.
In a court filing this week, the EPA responded that calculating job losses is complicated and that disentangling what is caused by regulation and what is caused by shifts in the market will be a complicated task.
The agency says it will need to consult with its scientific advisory board and the public in order to come up with a scientifically-rigorous way of doing that. It estimates that process will take a minimum of two years.