A federal judge says the Environmental Protection Agency overstepped its powers by setting up water-quality criteria for coal mining operations in Appalachia.
According to the Associated Press, U.S. District Judge Reggie B. Walton in Washington ruled Tuesday in a lawsuit filed by a coal mining industry coalition against the EPA and Administrator Lisa Jackson. Walton said the EPA infringed on the authority given to state regulators by federal clean water and surface mining acts.
During a satellite interview with WTAP Wednesday, Senator Joe Manchin said it's now time for state and federal regulators to work together to come up with a common set of standards.
Manchin said, "I'm sending a letter to EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson, saying, 'let's sit down, now, you've lost three times in court. Let's sit down to find out what we can do, and let's look at all the permits you're holding up, for whatever reason, and understand you can't pick arbitrary things you don't like. They are unconstitutional.' "
Manchin says that, while he was still West Virginia's governor, he filed suit against the EPA over its practices for issuing coal mining permits.
Last year, the EPA tightened guidelines on the practice of dumping waste into Appalachian valley waterways from surface mine blasting.
The National Mining Association, which had denounced the guidelines as a "jobs destroyer," says it's now time to get miners back to work by allowing state permitting agencies to do their jobs.