Byrd's news release called any effort to intervene with the corps "illegal and unethical."
"The delegation sympathizes with the situation facing the union miners in Logan County who face uncertainty in the weeks ahead," Byrd said.
"But the federal delegation cannot intervene in this matter," he said. "As to our passing legislation that would address this situation, I can tell you that if we felt that such legislation would be successful, we would have done it already."
Rockefeller said, "The congressional delegation is united in its commitment to protecting West Virginia coal mining jobs. However, the pending lawsuit constrains us from interfering with a decision by a federal agency involved in the case.
"Given the central role of the state government in any conceivable solution, we also asked the governor to concentrate his efforts on this problem."
In early 1998, Underwood prompted EPA to stall mountaintop removal permitting by signing a bill that lowered the amount of compensation companies must perform when they fill in state streams with mine waste.
Rod Blackstone, press secretary for Underwood, said that after the meeting, the governor "expressed a few concerns about what we can do together from here. "There is an interest by the parties involved in this meeting to be able to protect coal mining jobs in West Virginia," Blackstone said. "That's not an effort that will succeed by one person or two person's actions alone."
Rahall, whose district includes Logan County, said, "The congressional delegation, all of us, are first and foremost concerned with the welfare of the miners and their families, and we will work with the UMWA President, Cecil Roberts, to find meaningful employment for these men and women."
To contact staff writer Ken Ward Jr., call 348-1702, or e-mail kw...@wvgazette.com.