Environmentalism

Judge Rules EPA Overstepped Bounds on Mining Regs

EPA infringed on the authority given to state regulators by federal clean water and surface mining acts.

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The Environmental Protection Agency overstepped its powers by setting up water-quality criteria for coal mining operations in Appalachia, a federal judge ruled Tuesday.

U.S. District Judge Reggie B. Walton in Washington ruled in a lawsuit filed by a coal mining industry coalition against the EPA and Administrator Lisa Jackson. The judge said the EPA infringed on the authority given to state regulators by federal clean water and surface mining acts.

Last year the EPA revised standards issued in April 2010 by tightening guidelines on the practice of dumping waste from surface mine blasting into Appalachian valley waterways.