Merits of Case Must Now Be Decided
A federal appeals court ruling Tuesday that the Environmental Protection Agency has the authority to rescind a dumping permit three years after it was granted by the Army Corps of Engineers drew cheers from environmentalists.
The decision reverses a lower court’s ruling that would have allowed Mingo Logan Coal Co. to proceed with plans for one of the nation’s largest mountaintop mines in southern West Virginia. Mingo Logan is a subsidiary of Arch Coal, the second largest producer of fossil fuel in the country.
But the case is far from over. The decision, written by Judge Karen LeCraft Henderson, returns the case to District Court Judge Amy Berman Jackson. When Jackson sided with Arch Coal last year, she ruled on the company’s argument that the EPA lacked authority to rescind the permit but she must now rule on its contention that the agency was “arbitrary and capricious” in its arguments. Continue reading EPA’s Victory Moves Clean Water Act Fight Back to District Court
LNG tanker at sea (Photo courtesy of FERC)
The Obama Administration is blocking a comprehensive environmental study on the impact of exporting massive quantities of liquefied natural gas, or LNG, on the grounds that new gas drilling induced by the exports is not “reasonably foreseeable.”
Meanwhile, the U.S. Department of Energy is resisting calls by Dow Chemical and other manufacturers for a more clearly defined and transparent DOE process for determining whether proposed LNG export projects serve the “public interest.”
Both the DOE and the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission face mounting pressure to evaluate the economic and environmental consequences of licensing LNG export facilities. Since the agencies licensed an LNG export terminal in Sabine Pass, La., in 2011, 19 other applicants have lined up with licensing requests. Continue reading Obama Administration Says No to Full Environmental Study of LNG Exports
Mountain Laurel Complex in W.V. image from Google Earth
A standing-room only crowd packed a federal appeals courtroom in D.C. Thursday morning to hear arguments over whether the Environmental Protection Agency may rescind a dumping permit after it has been granted by the Army Corps of Engineers.
The high-profile case is being closely monitored by industry and the environmental community. The Chamber of Commerce, 34 industry trade groups and seven environmental organizations have filed friend-of-the-court briefs in the case. Mingo Logan Coal Co., a subsidiary of Arch Coal, the nation’s second largest producer of the fossil fuel, is represented by four lawyers from Hunton & Williams, a powerful law and lobby firm.
At issue is the proposed Spruce No. 1 mine in Logan County, West Va., which would be one of the largest mountaintop mining sites in the country. The EPA says in its brief to the U.S. Circuit Court for the District of Columbia that the project would disturb 3.5 square miles of earth and spew nearly 3 billion cubic feet of dirt and rubble into seven miles of mountain streams. Continue reading EPA Fights to Stop Large Mountaintop Coal Mine