Coal Tattoo

EPA loses first round in mine permit crackdown case

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Breaking news just in:

A federal judge in Washington, D.C., has ruled with the coal industry — and the West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection — in the first phase of a lawsuit challenging the Obama administration’s crackdown on mountaintop removal mining.

U.S. District Judge Reggie B. Walton ruled that the federal Environmental Protection Agency has overstepped its authority when it began a much more intense review of individual Clean Water Act permits normally handled by the Army Corps of Engineers.

I’ve posted a copy of the judge’s ruling here, and we’ll have more on this online in a bit and in tomorrow’s Gazette. Still to be decided in the case is the challenge to EPA’s new water quality guidelines for coal mining operations in Appalachia. Arguments on that portion of the case are set for late October. have been delayed until next June.

UPDATED: Here’s a link to today’s Gazette print edition story.