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Bentley and Strange challenge EPA’s power to halt economic development


Gov. Robert Bentley and Attorney General Luther Strange announced this week that Alabama has joined a group of 27 states that are pushing back against the ever-expanding power of the Obama Administration’s Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

The State of West Virginia recently requested the U.S. Supreme Court review a lower court’s decision that upheld an unprecedented EPA veto of a Clean Water Act permit issued to the Mingo Logan Coal Company.

The U.S. Army Corp of Engineers issued the permit to the coal company, only to see the EPA revoke it nearly four years later in an unprecedented display of agency power.

Alabama has now joined an amicus brief in support of West Virginia’s request that the Supreme Court intervene.

“The authority asserted by the EPA in the Mingo Logan case is unprecedented,” Gov. Bentley said. “Alabama has joined West Virginia in support of challenging the D.C. Circuit Court’s opinion that gave overreaching power to the EPA. If the decision by the D.C. Circuit Court stands and the EPA has unlimited veto authority, all states will be subject to devastating uncertainty with respect to public works projects that require… permits under the Clean Water Act.”

Alabama’s section of the brief focuses on the Northern Beltline plan that is expected to “enhance cross-region accessibility, create jobs and stimulate economic growth” in Birmingham and the surrounding area.

Alabama Attorney General Luther Strange said the bottom line of the case is about economic growth.

“At its core, this lawsuit is about saving and protecting jobs and ensuring public or private projects do not get halted midway by a federal agency that changed its mind,” Strange said. “This case is about states being able to engage and promote economic development, highway construction and other needed investments without fearing a federal agency will step in years later and halt the project. That is why we strongly support Mingo Logan Coal Co.’s appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court.”

Alabama has joined 26 other states in supporting the brief filed by the West Virginia Attorney General.

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