Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

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July 26, 2013

Appeals court won’t rehear W.Va. mine case

CHARLESTON — A federal appeals court is refusing to rehear a case challenging the Environmental Protection Agency’s retroactive veto of a water pollution permit for a massive West Virginia strip mine.

The U.S. District Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia on Thursday denied Arch Coal’s motion to rehear the case.

In April, the three-judge panel of the appeals court ruled the EPA had the legal right to revoke a Clean Water Act permit in 2011 that the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers had awarded years earlier to St. Louis-based Arch and its Mingo Logan Coal Co. subsidiary.

The EPA said destructive, unsustainable practices at the Spruce No. 1 mine in Logan County would cause irreparable environmental damage.

U.S. District Judge Amy Berman Jackson later ruled that the agency had overstepped its authority.

Her ruling and the subsequent reversal reverberated across coal country, but a broad cross-section of industries argue it could have a nationwide chilling effect on economic development because it removes finality from the federal permitting process.

The Charleston Gazette reports that Arch Coal has 90 days to file an appeal with the U.S. Supreme Court.

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