Second District Congresswoman Shelley Moore Capito will join U.S. Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell in his home state Monday fora  major announcement about coal.

“We are disappointed with the decision by a three-judge panel of the U.S. District Court of the District of Columbia to reverse and remand a decision by Judge Amy Berman-Jackson, also of the D.C. Circuit, which overturned a veto of the Spruce mine permit by the U.S. EPA.  The three-judge panel remanded the case back to Jackson to consider the remaining parts of the case that related to the specific facts surrounding the Spruce Mine permit.”

"Under the Appeals Court decision, a permit is no longer a license to work but has been relegated to mere permission to operate only as long as you are in EPA’s good political graces.  The decision is clear evidence that Congressional action in necessary to restore the appropriate balance between the authority of the Corps of Engineers and that of EPA.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit in the this week struck down the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ (Corps) 2007 issuance of nationwide permit (NWP) 21 as violating the Clean Water Act (CWA) and the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA). The 2007 version of NWP 21 authorized in-stream activities related to surface coal mining activities.  The Corps programmatically reissued NWP 21 in 2012, placing limits on the range of activities that could qualify for authorization under its terms and conditions. In its programmatic reissuance of NWP 21, the Corps allowed operations previously-permitted under the 2007 version to be “re-certified” and continue work for up to five years since the activities would not qualify for NWP 21 authorization under the restrictions contained in the 2012 version of the permit.  The Sixth Circuit ruling overturns a district court decision and invalidates the 2007 NWP 21, including the five-year reauthorization or “grace period” provided by the Corps for the completion of activities. The court invalidated the Corps’ issuance of the 2007 NWP 21 as arbitrary and capricious but stayed the ruling for 60 days to allow for an assessment of the ramifications of the ruling on existing projects and consideration of potential remedies.  We are still reviewing the decision and discussing its application to NWP 21s outside of the Sixth Circuit’s jurisdiction.  For a copy of the decision, contact jbostic@wvcoal.com
Governor Tomblin’s Chief of Staff Rob Alsop has given his resignation, effective in June, to spend more time with his family.  Rob has been a friend to the industry and Association staff and we wish him the very best in whatever his next endeavor may be.  He will be missed, but he will be ably replaced by Charles Lorensen, currently the Secretary of Revenue and Acting State Tax Commissioner.

During the 2013 legislative session the Association established a Coal Caucus, made up of House of Delegate members who were friends of the industry.  The Caucus met every Monday morning during the session and was attended by an average of 40–50 legislators.  The goal of the Caucus was to build a solid core of support for issues that are of importance to the future of our industry and the jobs it provides.  An underground mine visit is being planned for the first full interim meeting scheduled for June 14-16 in Wheeling.  More detail on the mine tour will be forthcoming as plans for the interim meeting become final.

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