U.S. Rep. Nick Rahall, D-W.Va., introduced a bill Tuesday aimed at curtailing the actions of the federal Environmental Protection Agency.
The Clean Water Cooperative Federalism Act of 2013 would limit the EPA's ability to retroactively veto permits previously issued to mines, according to a press release. It would also speed up the permitting process relating to water quality standards under the Clean Water Act.
In April, a federal appeals court ruled the EPA had the authority to reject a permit for the Spruce Mine in Logan County. The permit, granted in 2007, was the subject of a lengthy legal battle.
Rahall and other state lawmakers were quick to decry the court's decision.
"It is not merely a piece of paper that the EPA is taking away when they veto a permit," Rahall said in the release. "They are taking away the ability of our coal miners to earn an honest living and provide for their families, and it is for their sake I am filing this legislation today."
Earlier this month, U.S. Rep. Shelley Moore Capito, R-W.Va., introduced a bill that would essentially accomplish the same ideas proposed in Rahall's measure. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky, jointly introduced the bill, dubbed the "Coal Jobs Protection Act."
Although similar measures have passed the Republican-controlled House in the past, neither is likely to make it out of the Democrat-held Senate.
Compiled from staff reports