Coal Tattoo

There was a little bit of action yesterday at the U.S.  Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia regarding the case over the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s veto of the permit for the Spruce Mine.

Recall that a three-judge panel of the court upheld EPA’s authority to veto the permit issued by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, and that Arch Coal lawyers asked for a rehearing by the entire court. Well, yesterday, the court issued this order that instructed EPA lawyers to respond to the company’s request for a rehearing. (Importantly, the order does not actually grant the company’s request for a rehearing, as some reports initially indicated).

It’s worth noting, as E&E reporter Manuel Quinones did last week, that Arch Coal has hired a big-name lawyer to help with its continued legal fight with EPA over the Spruce Mine:

Arch Coal Inc. has hired former U.S. Solicitor General Paul Clement to work on its case against U.S. EPA’s 2011 permit veto of a sprawling mountaintop-removal mine in West Virginia.

A three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit in April unanimously overturned District Judge Amy Berman Jackson’s ruling last year that tossed EPA’s veto of the 2007 Army Corps of Engineers’ permit for the Spruce No. 1 mine.

Hiring Clement is a sign that Arch may be considering seeking Supreme Court review of the case. Arch spokeswoman Kim Link did not provide details about the hire, saying only the company hadn’t filed a petition with the high court.