Finally, one for our side.
Early last year the EPA revoked a permit for an already-in-use coal mine in West Virginia citing violations of the Clean Air Act and the endangerment of a disgusting little insect known as the mayfly. The decision sent shock waves and fear not only through the coal, oil and natural gas business but business in general. After all, if a company which had already invested $250 million in a project could summarily and with no warning have it shut down by the EPA or another government entity the incentive for investment is gone.
But several days ago Obama’s War on Coal lost a battle when U.S. District Judge Amy Berman Jackson declared Arch Coal’s permit in West Virginia was valid. Jason Bostic, Vice President of the West Virginia Coal Association had this to say:
“The judge accurately equated EPA’s actions to that of a ‘disappointed player’s threat to take his ball and go home when he didn’t get to pitch,’”
Of course environmental groups such as the Sierra Club, Ohio Valley Environmental Coalition and Coal River Mountain Watch are distraught to the point of asking the EPA to appeal the decision. The EPA ruled Arch Coal’s mountain top coal removal process was a danger to the area and would cause environmental damage however the judge felt differently about the permit given to Arch Coal by the Army Corps of Engineers:
“to unilaterally modify or revoke a permit that has been duly issued by the corps” is incorrect and unreasonable, the judge wrote. “This is a stunning power for an agency to arrogate to itself when there is absolutely no mention of it in the statute.”
House Natural Resources Chair Rep. Doc Hastings (R-WA) also applauded the judge’s decision:
“This is a common sense victory of American jobs and American-made energy over the out-of-control job-destroying actions of the Obama EPA. The forcefulness and clarity with which the federal judge beat back this unprecedented abuse by the Obama EPA is warranted considering its shocking attempt to proactively destroy high-paying jobs at a coal mine that had already been officially approved, permitted and underway. President Obama can criss-cross the country making speeches trying to dodge responsibility for rising gasoline and energy costs, but it’s the President’s own policies and agencies that are driving up prices by driving down energy production.”
West Virginia receives 90% of its electricity from coal and is the second largest coal producer in the nation behind Wyoming.
“It is clear that Friday’s decision was a victory, but the bigger fight remains,” said Bill Raney, president of the West Virginia Coal Association. “We have to bring an end, once and for all to the EPA’s regulatory war against the West Virginia’s hard working coal miners. We applaud the decision because it supports our assertion that the EPA is an out-of-control agency single-handedly destroying tens of thousands of jobs across the country and thousands of jobs right here in West Virginia. We hope that Congress, specifically the U.S. Senate, will take note of this decision as well and take action on H.R. 2018, the “Clean Water Cooperative Federalism Act” (co-sponsored by Congressman Rahall and passed by the House in July 2011) to return appropriate balance on EPA’s relationship with other federal agencies.”
Now the folks of the great state of West Virginia can get on with their lives and coal mining jobs will no longer be at a standstill. I applaud this federal judge doing her part to halt the Obama administration’s regulatory onslaught.
Crossposted at Conservative Outlooks