Jump to Navigation
Jump to Content

Virginia ex rel. Virginia Dep't of Conservation & Economic Dev. v. Watt

Citation: 14 ELR 20492
No. Nos. 83-1730 et al., 741 F.2d 37/20 ERC 2137/(4th Cir., 05/25/1984) Rev'd

The court holds that appellees' challenge to federal enforcement of the small-mine exemption standards of the Surface Mining Control and Reclamation Act (SMCRA) in Virginia is really a challenge to the federal standards themselves, a challenge that the court below lacked jurisdiction to hear. SMCRA § 526(a)(1) limits jurisdiction for judicial review of national regulations to the District Court for the District of Columbia. The Fourth Circuit has ruled that even an indirect attack on national rules may be brought only in the District of Columbia. The district court's ruling, 13 ELR 20874, examined the merits of the federal exemption and its remedy enjoins implementation of the federal small-mine national regulations. Allowing a district court to make such a ruling under federal question jurisdiction would frustrate Congress' intent to have uniform, timely judicial review of nationally applicable SMCRA regulations. The court remands the case for dissolution of the preliminary injunctions and dismissal.

Counsel for Appellant
Walter D. Morris, Special Ass't U.S. Attorney
P.O. Box 15006, Knoxville TN 37901
(605) 584-5641

Morgan E. Scott
P.O. Box 1709, Roanoke VA 24008
(703) 982-6250

Robert L. Klarquist
Land and Natural Resources Division
Department of Justice, Washington DC 20530
(202) 633-2731

Counsel for Appellees
Roger L. Chaffe; Gerald L. Baliles, Attorney General
101 N. 8th St., Richmond VA 23219
(804) 786-2071

John L. Kilcullen
Kilcullen, Wilson & Kilcullen
1800 M St. NW, Washington DC 20036
(202) 296-5700

Elsey A. Harris III
Mullins, Winston, Stout & Thomason
P.O. Box 408, Norton VA 24273
(703) 679-3110

Joined by Phillips and Sprouse, JJ.