The Environmental Protection Agency overstepped its powers by setting water quality criteria for coal mining operations in Appalachia, a federal judge ruled Tuesday.
Judge Reggie B. Walton of Federal District Court in Washington issued his opinion in a suit that was filed by a coal mining industry coalition against the agency and its administrator, Lisa P. Jackson.
The judge said the agency had infringed on the authority given to state regulators by federal clean water and surface mining acts. Last year, the agency revised standards issued in April 2010 by tightening guidelines on the practice of dumping waste from surface mine blasting into Appalachian valley waterways. The National Mining Association, a plaintiff, called the guidelines a “jobs destroyer.”
The people who shout about jobs being destroyed don't make the connection in their minds between the pollutants they allow to be dumped into the water system and their 5-year-old getting a form of cancer that normally only affects women over the age of 60, or the headaches and diarrhea they get whenever they have a glass of water.