Breaking news: Court rejects Obama MTR rule change

August 12, 2009 by Ken Ward Jr.

 ken-salazar.jpg

A federal court in Washington has just rejected the Obama Interior Department’s effort to throw out a Bush administration rule change that essentially eliminated the federal strip mining law’s stream “buffer zone” rule.

U.S. District Judge Henry H. Kennedy Jr. denied a motion from Interior Secretary Ken Salazar (pictured above) to toss out the Bush rule change without actually going through the formal rulemaking process. Recall that getting rid of the Bush rule change was a key part of the Obama administration’s plan to deal with mountaintop removal.

Salazar had filed his motion in a suit brought by environmental groups challenging the Bush changes to the rule. He argued that he had “confessed serious legal deficiencies in the rulemaking” and that having a court simply throw the rule out “will not result in disruptive consequences.”  But the National Mining Association argued there was nothing wrong with the rule, and if Obama officials wanted to change it they would have to initiate a new rulemaking.

In a five-page ruling, Judge Kennedy sided with the National Mining Association, saying that Salazar was wrongly trying to “repeal a rule without public notice and comment, without judicial consideration of the merits. “

12 Responses to “Breaking news: Court rejects Obama MTR rule change”

  1. […] This post was Twitted by Kenwardjr […]

  2. roselle says:

    Nobody followed the “rule” when it was the law. Now we can argue about what “fill” and “AOC is while they continue to blow up more mountains. If the Obama administration thinks blowing up mountains is not OK, then they should say so. But I think they support more MTR, so this is a victory for them. Now they can blame someone else for the destruction of Appalachia. The EPA approves another MTR mine while the coal industry squeals about how anti coal Obama is. If this is an example of the new president’s leadership ability, then I fear for my country.

  3. Amen roselle. Disgusted.

  4. Matthew Cook says:

    I agree, it is disgusting that the candidate for transparency and open government tried to bypass the rule making process.
    MC

  5. eastwood78 says:

    Hey, Obama knew the court would reject this from day one. He is just playing a game with the people who think he is for stopping MTR.

    West Virginia is one state that did not go for Obama. Very smart people in West Virginia who are not fooled by all the hog wash that Obama’s administration puts out.

    One day when MTR is finished destroying all the mountains and streams, and there will be no jobs for the strip miners, I wonder who they will blame for the loss of their jobs then. Surely, they would not blame Massey Energy, Inc., and the other coal operators. Time will tell.

  6. Bruce Boyens says:

    Here’s a novel idea make the States just fully enforce that portion of the law which states you must haul the spoil to the toe of the fills and compact the spoil up in 4 ft. lifts. I do not think that portion of the law was universally enforced since the laws inception.

    Ken, am I still correct on this point?

  7. JB says:

    This points out the need to make NEW law that addresses our problems and actually enforces the clean water act with tough penalties and jail terms. There should be no loopholes in the CWA.

  8. […] Breaking news: Court rejects Obama MTR rule change (Coal Tattoo) […]

  9. […] This post was Twitted by seabird7 […]

  10. hebintn says:

    “In a five-page ruling, Judge Kennedy sided with the National Mining Association, saying that Salazar was wrongly trying to “repeal a rule without public notice and comment, without judicial consideration of the merits. “ ”

    I don’t recall Bush decision being based on public notice an comment! So, why is it required of the Obama camp to go this route? Seems like the old forked tongue to me.

  11. Ken Ward Jr. says:

    hebintn,

    You weren’t paying much attention during the rewrite of the buffer zone rule … The Bush changes went through at least two rounds of public notice and comment, and a full-blown Environmental Impact Statement. Read the history here:
    http://edocket.access.gpo.gov/2008/E8-29150.htm

    Ken.

  12. […] Remember now, the last we heard from Interior about the buffer zone rule, agency lawyers were trying to withdraw Bush administration changes to the rule without going through the formal rulemaking process — and they were slapped down by a federal judge for doing so. […]

Leave a Reply