U.S. Rep. Shelley Moore Capito, R-W.Va., is recruiting a powerful ally in her latest bid to reign in an overreaching federal Environmental Protection Agency. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky is now working with Capito on a bill that would require the EPA to make a decision on the issuance of new mining permits within a specific time.
An appellate court ruled last week that the EPA was within its authority to retroactively cancel a 404 permit issued years earlier to Arch Coal at its Spruce No. 1 mine, a mountaintop mining operation in Logan County. That decision was blasted by area lawmakers and coal leaders, including U.S. Rep. Nick Rahall, D-W.Va., and Bill Raney, president of the West Virginia Coal Association. And Capito and McConnell, R-Ky., correctly called the ruling an “overreach” by the EPA that will negatively impact coal mining in both West Virginia, Virginia and Kentucky.
“This administration is doing everything it can to destroy the coal industry,” Capito said last week in announcing the new legislation being crafted in conjunction with McConnell. “From President Obama stating that he wants to ‘bankrupt’ it to the EPA holding the permitting process hostage, this administration is standing in the way of economic growth and driving up hardworking West Virginians’ electric bills.”