Coal company sues over Obama water rule

Coal company sues over Obama water rule

Coal giant Murray Energy Corp. said Wednesday it is suing the Obama administration over its rule asserting power over small bodies of water. 

Murray said the rule — called the Clean Water Rule, or “waters of the U.S.” — is an example of “regulatory creep” and an unjust expansion of the Environmental Protection Agency’s power to regulate water in light of Supreme Court decisions against other EPA rules.

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“The Obama EPA’s final ‘Waters of the United States’ rule not only reflects an unprecedented expansion in federal regulatory authority, but results in one of the largest land  grabs by the federal government in this nation’s history,” Gary Broadbent, Murray’s assistant general counsel and media director, said in a statement.

“If the Clean Water Act is to be rewritten, it should be done so by Congress, after input from the citizens of the United States and serious deliberation by Congress, not by EPA through a series of unilateral administrative changes that effectively rewrites the Clean Water Act,” he said. 

The EPA and the Army Corps of Engineers wrote the new rule, which gives the government the power to regulate small bodies of water, such as ponds and wetlands. The regulation means the government could require permits for activities that would pollute those waters. 

Opponents of the rule contend, as Murray does, that it gives the government more power than it is granted under the Clean Water Act. 

The government formally published the rule in the Federal Register on Monday, clearing the way for lawsuits against it. So far, 27 states have sued the EPA or the Army Corps over the rule, arguing it infringes on the rights of states or private landowners.  

Murray filed lawsuits against the rule in a U.S. District Court in West Virginia and in a federal appellate court.

The company, a major coal producer, said the lawsuits “are yet another step in Murray Energy’s legal campaign to stop the Obama EPA’s illegal actions and to restore the rule of law in this country.”