Governor Robert Bentley on Tuesday announced Alabama has joined an amicus brief in support of West Virginia's request for U.S. Supreme Court review of a D.C. Circuit Court decision that upheld an unprecedented Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) veto of a Clean Water Act permit issued to Mingo Logan Coal Company in West Virginia under Section 404 of the Act.
"The authority asserted by the EPA in the Mingo Logan case is unprecedented," Governor Robert Bentley said. "Alabama has joined West Virginia in support of challenging the D.C. Circuit Court's opinion that gave overreaching power to the EPA. If the decision by the D.C. Circuit Court stands and the EPA has unlimited veto authority, all states will be subject to devastating uncertainty with respect to public works projects that require 404 permits under the Clean Water Act."
The case presents a challenge to EPA's authority to veto a 404 permit issued pursuant to the Clean Water Act by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers nearly four years after issuing the permit to Mingo Logan Coal Company in West Virginia. Section 404 requires a permit before any material related to a public works project can be discharged into waters. Alabama's segment of the brief highlights the Northern Beltline project which is expected to enhance cross-region accessibility, create jobs and stimulate economic growth in the Birmingham area. The Corps issued a 404 permit for the first segment of the project in September. Construction of the project is expected to take at least 30 years.
Alabama is one of twenty-seven states joining the brief filed by the Attorney General of West Virginia.