Update on Mountaintop Removal: Gov. Manchin Sues EPA

West Virginia Governor Joe Manchin announced Tuesday that West Virginia is filing suit to, as the Governor put it, stop EPA’s “attempts to destroy the coal-mining industry and our way of life.”  The Charleston Gazette has a good summary of the suit.  The suit seeks to invalidate EPA’s recent review of Clean Water Act permits for mining and block EPA from implementing a stricter water quality standard.  Front and center will be the Spruce Mine mountaintop removal (MTR) permit, currently under EPA review (see my earlier blog post here).

Taking a page from the environmentalists’ playbook, West Virginia will focus on whether EPA met its procedural requirements—such as public comment—when considering stricter standard and reviewing the MTR permit.

Governor Manchin is running for the Senate seat formerly occupied by the late Senator Robert Byrd.  Polling to date shows a very close race, and Governor Manchin will certainly take advantage of what, at least in West Virginia, would be considered positive press.  (The Governor did claim that the suit has been in the works since before Senator Byrd’s death.)

The law firm representing West Virginia in the suit, curiously enough, is Bailey and Glasser: the same firm that won an appeal about ten years ago after the late U.S. District Judge Charles H. Haden basically shut down mountaintop removal by prohibiting mining waste in permanent and seasonal streams.  Judge Haden’s ruling was a monumental, if short-lived, achievement for the environmental movement and is described in Coal River.

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Reader Comments

One Reply to “Update on Mountaintop Removal: Gov. Manchin Sues EPA”

  1. I think we should all thank former coal broker Joe Manchin for everything he, the coal industry and its bought-and-paid for politburo have provided its citizenry for so long. It’s got to feel good going home each night, reflecting on all the benefits coal has brought this important state:

    Last in wellbeing (http://www.gallup.com/poll/141539/hawaii-leads-wellbeing-west-virginia-ranks-last.aspx)

    Last in education spending: http://wvgazette.com/News/201008310975

    Last in median household income: http://www.democraticunderground.com/discuss/duboard.php?az=view_all&address=132×5960947

    Worst heart disease rates: http://www.medpagetoday.com/Cardiology/AcuteCoronarySyndrome/5079

    Last in percentage of foreign-born residents; last in percentage of residents who speak a language other than English in the home. (http://webcache.googleusercontent.com/search?q=cache:DrV8Kh3Jic8J:www.prospect.org/cs/articles%3Farticle%3Dwhen_west_virginia_mattered+%22west+virginia+ranks+last%22&cd=11&hl=en&ct=clnk&gl=us)

    Last in health insurance coverage for women: http://www.wvvoices.org/library_downloadsbetter_health.pdf

    And of course, one of my favorites with respect to Manchin, Rockefeller, Byrd, Raese, and the past and present house of criminals:
    Last in oral health and first among all the states in the percentage of people aged 65 and older who had lost all their natural teeth at 47.9%. http://www.wvdhhr.org/bph/hp2010/objective/21.htm

    And sadly, this is only a partial list of this state’s stellar attributes.

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