Appeals court upholds EPA's mining restraints - KAUZ-TV: Newschannel 6 Now | Wichita Falls, TX

Appeals court upholds EPA's mining restraints

Posted: Updated:
  • NationalMore>>

  • Alaska tourist train halts runs after derailment

    Alaska tourist train halts runs after derailment

    Thursday, July 24 2014 4:13 AM EDT2014-07-24 08:13:54 GMT
    A vintage rail company that hauls hundreds of thousands of tourists every year along the route of the historic Klondike Gold Rush has suspended operations while it investigates a derailment that injured nine people.
    A vintage rail company that hauls hundreds of thousands of tourists every year along the route of the historic Klondike Gold Rush has suspended operations while it investigates a derailment that injured nine people.
  • Arizona execution takes nearly 2 hours

    Arizona execution takes nearly 2 hours

    Thursday, July 24 2014 3:41 AM EDT2014-07-24 07:41:42 GMT
    A condemned murderer took nearly two hours to die and gasped for about 90 minutes during an execution in Arizona that quickly rekindled the national debate on capital punishment in the U.S.
    A condemned murderer took nearly two hours to die and gasped for about 90 minutes during an execution in Arizona that quickly rekindled the national debate on capital punishment in the U.S.
  • Colorado gay marriage ban struck, appeal awaits

    Colorado gay marriage ban struck, appeal awaits

    Thursday, July 24 2014 3:32 AM EDT2014-07-24 07:32:56 GMT
    For years, gay rights activists in Colorado repeatedly said it would only be a matter of time before they would be allowed to marry.
    For years, gay rights activists in Colorado repeatedly said it would only be a matter of time before they would be allowed to marry.

WASHINGTON (AP) - A federal appeals court on Friday upheld the Obama administration's environmental protections designed to reduce water pollution from mountaintop-removal coal mining.

In a 3-0 decision, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit said the Environmental Protection Agency acted within its authority when it instituted two measures under the Clean Water Act that address damage from surface mining.

Under a process set up in 2009, EPA began screening mining permit applications made to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, initiating discussions with the Corps on proposed mining projects that EPA considered likely to damage navigable waters.

In 2011, the EPA recommended that states impose more stringent conditions for issuing mining permits. EPA may object if the permit, in the agency's view, does not meet state water quality standards or other provisions of the Clean Water Act.

In the appeals court ruling, Judge Brett Kavanaugh said the EPA's recommendation, known as a "final guidance," is not an agency action reviewable by the courts. If an applicant is denied a permit, the applicant may then challenge the denial in court.

In a statement, EPA welcomed the ruling and said it is committed to consistently using its authority under the Clean Water Act to protect the health and environment of Appalachian communities.

The agency says it is working with states, mining companies and the public to enable environmentally responsible mining projects to move forward.

Mary Anne Hitt, director of Sierra Club's Beyond Coal Campaign, said the EPA has a critical role to play in ensuring the safety of Appalachian waterways and that states simply cannot do the job themselves.

Jim Hecker, an attorney at the public interest law firm Public Justice, said lower court decisions that the mining industry "trumpeted as examples of EPA overreach" have now - with Friday's decision - been reversed and the federal government's decision upheld.

Rep. Shelley Moore Capito, R-W. Va., said the appeals court decision would allow the EPA to delay the permitting process and cost West Virginia jobs.

Capito said as the EPA and Corps operate now, their guidance is not subject to public notice and comment. She said she introduced the Coal Jobs Protection Act to create clear deadlines and transparency on permitting.

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

  • InternationalMore>>

  • 2 planes with more crash victims to leave Ukraine

    2 planes with more crash victims to leave Ukraine

    Thursday, July 24 2014 4:21 AM EDT2014-07-24 08:21:56 GMT
    Ukraine's government says 51 containers holding bodies and body parts of victims of the Malaysia Airlines crash are ready to depart for the Netherlands aboard two military transport planes.
    Dozens of containers holding remains of victims of the Malaysia Airlines crash were loaded aboard two military transports to go to the Netherlands Thursday on the second day of the airlift, while Australia's government...
  • Gaza fighting rages amid cease-fire efforts

    Gaza fighting rages amid cease-fire efforts

    Thursday, July 24 2014 4:04 AM EDT2014-07-24 08:04:30 GMT
    Israeli tanks and warplanes are pummeling the Gaza Strip as U.S. and other diplomats push for a cease-fire with Hamas militants.
    Israeli tanks and warplanes bombarded the Gaza Strip on Thursday, as Hamas militants stuck to their demand for the lifting of an Israeli and Egyptian blockade amid U.S. efforts to reach a cease-fire.
  • Iraq: Attack on prisoner convoy kills 60 people

    Iraq: Attack on prisoner convoy kills 60 people

    Thursday, July 24 2014 3:51 AM EDT2014-07-24 07:51:25 GMT
    Iraqi officials say militants have attacked a prisoner convoy north of Baghdad, killing 52 prisoners and eight soldiers.
    Gunmen attacked a prisoner convoy north of Baghdad on Thursday, setting off a gunbattle with troops in which 52 prisoners and eight soldiers were killed, officials said.