The Times West Virginian

March 27, 2012

W.Va. still fighting EPA over strip mine permits

Associated Press

CHARLESTON — Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin says a recent court ruling bolsters the state’s lawsuit against the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency over permitting for new surface mines.

The Department of Environmental Protection has filed a final brief in U.S. District Court in Washington, D.C., on the merits of its case challenging new EPA water-quality criteria.

A federal judge ruled Friday that EPA overstepped its bounds in vetoing permits the Army Corps of Engineers had issued for Arch Coal’s Spruce No. 1 mine.

Tomblin says that supports assertions that EPA has gone too far with other operations, too.

Although DEP won part of the battle last year, EPA’s final rules remain in dispute.

The state claims EPA can’t issue water quality standards outside normal rule-making procedures.

A hearing is set for June 1.