U.S. Rep. Nick J. Rahall praised a Federal judge's decision today which found that the EPA had overstepped its authority by establishing new Clean Water Act criteria for mining in Appalachia. U.S. District Judge Reggie Walton sided with several states, including West Virginia, and the National Mining Association in holding that the EPA had usurped existing permitting responsibilities held by other state and federal agencies in order to block the issuance of new permits.
"The Federal Court today confirmed what I have been arguing for many months -- that the EPA has acted unlawfully, overstepping its authority with respect to coal mine permitting in West Virginia and throughout Central Appalachia," said Rahall. "The Court clearly understood the simple fact that the EPA has been running roughshod over the States and over other Federal agencies on a tear to undercut the coal industry and eliminate coal mining jobs. I welcome this decision with a sense of satisfaction that the EPA's tortured defense of its illegal actions was thoroughly knocked down. It's long past time EPA got the message that it is not above the law; it must be held accountable to the people for its actions, and, today, it was."