CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- West Virginia political leaders on Thursday promised coal industry officials they would continue the fight to stop the Obama administration's crackdown on mountaintop removal.
Acting governor Earl Ray Tomblin and Rep. Shelley Moore Capito, R-W.Va., were among the morning speakers at the West Virginia Coal Association's annual Coal Symposium, held at the Charleston Civic Center.
Tomblin said his administration would continue to pursue a lawsuit to block the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's more rigorous Clean Water Act permit reviews and tougher EPA water pollution guidance for mining operations.
"We don't know how the litigation against EPA will conclude, but we must speak out when we are wronged," Tomblin said.
Capito said Republican leaders in the House will likely hold hearings that will give her and other lawmakers a chance to grill EPA officials about their crackdown, and that she's signed onto a bill that would strip EPA of its authority to revoke issued Clean Water Act permits for mining operations.
"You're going to see aggressive action against the EPA," Capito said. "It's going to have to be an all-sides attack."
Capito got her biggest applause when she mentioned a proposal floating around Washington to totally defund the EPA. Capito did not indicate whether she would support such a move, but said she thought it had little chance of passing.