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  • bluecheese4u bluecheese4u May 15, 2012 1:42 AM Flag

    E.P.A. Appeals Coal Mine Ruling

    May 14, 2012, 3:06 pm

    E.P.A. Appeals Coal Mine Ruling

    By JOHN M. BRODER

    The Obama administration said Monday that it would appeal a federal judge’s ruling that the Environmental Protection Agency illegally vetoed a major coal mining project in West Virginia.

    In a scathing decision in March, the United States District Court judge, Amy Berman Jackson, wrote that the E.P.A.’s unilateral decision in January 2011 to retroactively revoke the waste disposal permit for the Spruce No. 1 mine in Logan County, W.Va., overstepped the agency’s authority. Her ruling paved the way for the mountaintop removal mining project covering 2,278 acres to go forward.

    E.P.A. officials indicated at the time they intended to contest the decision. A Justice Department spokesman said Monday that the government had filed a notice of appeal on Friday with the court but that he would have no further comment on the case.

    Judge Jackson said that the E.P.A.’s action in rescinding the permit was “a stunning power for an agency to arrogate to itself” that the law did not support. She said that the agency had resorted to “magical thinking” to justify its action.

    In taking the rare step of revoking the permit, granted in 2007 by the Bush administration, the E.P.A. said that the coal mining would do permanent damage to rivers, wildlife and communities. The project, owned by Arch Coal of St. Louis, would have buried 6.6 miles of streams under tons of mining waste.

    The agency said it was invoking its authority under the Clean Water Act to rescind the mine’s permit from the Army Corps of Engineers, an action it had taken only twice in 40 years and never for a coal mine.

    Kim Link, spokeswoman for Arch Coal, said Monday in a statement, “We’re hopeful the appellate court agrees with Judge Jackson’s well-reasoned opinion regarding E.P.A.’s unprecedented action.”

    A coalition of environmental groups opposed to the mine welcomed the agency’s decision to appeal.

    “No one in Appalachia or beyond should be forced to live with the water pollution and wholesale environmental destruction that coal companies are wreaking through mountaintop removal mining,” the groups — the West Virginia Highlands Conservancy, the Ohio Valley Environmental Coalition, Coal River Mountain Watch and the Sierra Club – said in a statement. “We’re glad to see the E.P.A.’s decision to stand up to the coal industry and continue defending the basic right of everyday Appalachian families to clean water.”

    http://green.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/05/14/e-p-a-appeals-coal-mine-ruling/

 
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