This week, the federal Environmental Protection Agency completed the rules that will lead to tougher Clean Water Act permit reviews for proposed mountaintop removal mining sites. They’ve been in effect for some time already.

“I’m not surprised,” Second District Congresswoman Shelley Moore Capito says. “I think the EPA has been consistent in moving forward with a pretty tough agenda in terms of their environmental regulations.”

EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson has said “very few” valley fill projects will be approved with the new guidelines in place. Those guidelines are being challenged in court.

At the same time, Congresswoman Capito is working to make a requirement that the EPA consider economic and other impacts when making policy decisions part of law. That was amended into legislation in the U.S. House earlier this week
This is not just coal,” she says. “It’s natural gas. It’s agriculture. It’s Chesapeake Bay Watershed projects up in the Eastern Panhandle. These are very long tentacles of the EPA that we’re feeling.”