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WCHS Radio 58 - Capito on EPA Ruling

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Location: Washington, DC

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Second District Congresswoman Shelley Moore Capito is curious to see how the federal Environmental Protection Agency responds to last week's decision from U.S. District Judge Reggie Walton.

"We'll have to see how this plays out, but I think it was a pretty strong statement," says Capito.

In that ruling, Judge Walton found the EPA and Administrator Lisa Jackson overstepped the agency's authority when issuing new water quality requirements for surface mine sites.

"I'm glad that the court has backed us up. This is not the first time that the EPA has done an end-around in trying to exert their authority that they don't have," Congresswoman Capito said.

Those in West Virginia's coal industry say they've been crippled by clean water standards set by the EPA. Capito says the agency shouldn't be setting policy, only enforcing it.

"The state sets the clean water standards. The EPA oversees that. Once they sign off on it, the state is supposed to have the primary responsibility of enforcement," she says.

But that's not what's taken place. In fact, Capito says this is the third decision handed down by a U.S. District Judge ruling the EPA has gone beyond its given powers when setting standards for states to follow.

"We're legislators. We're the ones that are supposed to set the boundaries, not an executive branch administrator. And that was exactly what was happening," according to Capito.

She says she wants to see what happens next.

"A debate needs to occur in the halls of Congress. I think that's what the judge was saying. So we'll see if the debate moves forward. We're also going to see what the EPA's reaction is. They can't seem to accept the reality of an impartial judge."


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