Jump to Navigation
Jump to Content

National Mining Ass'n v. Jackson

ELR Citation: 41 ELR 20066
Nos. No. 10-1220, (D.D.C., 01/14/2011)

A district court held that mining interests may go forward with their CWA, APA, and SMCRA claims against EPA in connection with memoranda and guidance documents concerning permitting processes for coal mining. The documents meet the criteria of final agency actions. The government's view of what amounts to finality is too narrow, as it is possible for an agency to take final agency actions during a permit assessment process prior to actually determining whether to grant or deny an application for a permit. Although the federal defendants stress that the documents impose no new substantive requirements on permit applications, it is clear that EPA has implemented a change in the permitting process through these documents. In addition, the plaintiffs' claims are ripe for review. Whether the documents constitute legislative rules and whether EPA violated the notice and comment requirement of the APA present purely legal questions. No factual developments would clarify these issues or assist the court in evaluating the claims. And the allegations are sufficient to establish standing. The federal government's motion to dismiss was therefore denied. In addition, the court denied the plaintiffs' motion for a preliminary injunction. Although they established that they are likely to succeed on the merits of their claims, they failed to show irreparable harm.