The coal industry won a legal challenge to U.S. Environmental Protection Agency water-quality standards when a federal judge ruled that the agency infringed on state authority to regulate surface mining.
U.S. District Judge Reggie Walton in Washington today said the EPA exceeded its authority by issuing a so-called final guidance in 2011 that asked states to consider conductivity levels of stream water when issuing mining permits.
The National Mining Association filed one of four lawsuits challenging the EPA guidance. West Virginia and Kentucky also sued.
“Today’s decision has truly given coal miners and coal mining communities their ‘day in court’ and has affirmed NMA’s longstanding belief that EPA overreached its authority in its virtual moratorium on Eastern coal mining permits and denied those operations the protections provided for under the law,” Hal Quinn, president and chief executive officer of the association, said in an e-mailed statement.