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Ohio River Valley Environmental Coalition, Inc. v. Salazar

ELR Citation: 41 ELR 20061
Nos. No. 3:09-0149, (S.D. W. Va., 01/03/2011) summary judgment

A district court upheld the OSM's approval of amendments to West Virginia's federally approved SMCRA program that pertain to cumulative hydrologic impact assessments. The amendments delete the program's definition of “cumulative impact” and add a definition for “material damage to the hydrologic balance outside the permit areas.” For the approved amendments to be vacated, the alterations to West Virginia’s program must be shown to be less stringent than the SMCRA and less effective than the federal regulations, or it must be shown that the Secretary’s decision to approve the amendments was a clear error in judgment. Plaintiffs have not met this burden. The changes do not supersede, amend, modify, or repeal the CWA, and the OSM provided an adequate basis for its approval.