WASHINGTON (Legal Newsline) -- Manufacturers and business groups are joining more than 20 state attorneys general in challenging the federal Environmental Protection Agency over its decision to rescind parts of a Clean Water Act permit issued to a West Virginia coal mining company.
The EPA is attempting to revoke Mingo Logan Coal Company's CWA Section 404 permit to mine the Spruce No. 1 mine in Logan County.
The Army Corps of Engineers issued the Spruce permit in 2007. The EPA vetoed the permit almost three years later, even though the West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection had certified that the coal company's operations complied with state water quality standards and applicable mining regulations.
Mingo Logan Coal now is appealing a decision by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit that said the EPA could withdraw portions of the CWA permit, preventing the company from using certain streams to discharge fill material at the Spruce No. 1 mine.
"It is impossible to overstate the negative impact the EPA's actions in this case will have on future investment and job creation, which is why such a diverse group of business associations along with 27 states are fighting this ruling," Linda Kelly, the senior vice president and general counsel of the National Association of Manufacturers, said in a statement Monday.
NAM, the American Road and Transportation Builders Association, the Associated General Contractors of America, the Association of American Railroads, The Fertilizer Institute and the American Society of Civil Engineers are among the groups that filed a 20-page amicus brief with the U.S. Supreme Court Monday.
A group of 27 state attorneys general also filed an amicus brief with the nation's high court this week.
"Congress explicitly vested the Army Corps of Engineers with authority to issue Section 404 permits; yet, the EPA now believes -- for the first time ever -- that it has the ability to revoke these permits," Kelly said.
"This precedent has the potential to impact an array of future projects, including the construction of utility infrastructure; housing and commercial development; renewable energy projects, such as wind farms or solar arrays; and transportation infrastructure projects, such as highways and rail lines."
She added, "Manufacturers are already disproportionately affected by federal regulations, and the EPA's actions in this case only add to that burden while creating uncertainty for businesses across the country."
From Legal Newsline: Reach Jessica Karmasek by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.