CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- The National Mining Association said Friday it is seeking a federal court order barring the Obama administration from using a policy designed to limit surface coal mining in Appalachia.
The move is part of a lawsuit filed by the NMA against the Environmental Protection Agency and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers last July. The lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court in Washington, D.C., seeks to overturn the policy, which the EPA unveiled April 1.
The NMA claims the policy illegally prevents mines from obtaining water quality permits to fill mountain valleys with rock and excess waste.
The EPA had no immediate comment, but Administrator Lisa Jackson has said the policy is designed to make it nearly impossible to obtain a valley fill permit in West Virginia, Kentucky, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Virginia and Tennessee.
Environmentalists and others have cheered the policy for curbing mountaintop removal coal mining. Opponents consider the practice too destructive, but mine operators defend it as an efficient way to extract coal for electric power plants in much of the eastern United States.