The Obama administration said Monday that it would appeal a federal judge’s ruling that the Environmental Protection Agency illegally vetoed a major coal mining project in West Virginia.
In a scathing decision in March, the United States District Court judge, Amy Berman Jackson, wrote that the E.P.A.’s unilateral decision in January 2011 to retroactively revoke the waste disposal permit for the Spruce No. 1 mine in Logan County, W.Va., overstepped the agency’s authority. Her ruling paved the way for the mountaintop removal mining project covering 2,278 acres to go forward.
E.P.A. officials indicated at the time they intended to contest the decision. A Justice Department spokesman said Monday that the government had filed a notice of appeal on Friday with the court but that he would have no further comment on the case.
Judge Jackson said that the E.P.A.’s action in rescinding the permit was “a stunning power for an agency to arrogate to itself” that the law did not support. She said that the agency had resorted to “magical thinking” to justify its action.