For the second time this week a federal court has overturned an EPA ruling. Earlier this week , the Supreme Court ruled that landowners are allowed to sue the Environmental Protection Agency and allows people to challenge compliance orders handed out by the EPA under the clean water law. Yesterday, U.S. District Judge Amy Berman Jackson ruled that the federal Environmental Protection Agency is not authorized to withdraw a Clean Water Act permit that already was issued by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.
“This is a stunning power for an agency to arrogate to itself when there is absolutely no mention of it in the statute,” Jackson wrote in a 34-page opinion that’s been highly anticipated by all sides in the mountaintop-removal debate.
Jackson called the language at issue in the law unclear and confusing, but said the EPA’s reading was not a reasonable interpretation.
What makes this latest ruling more remarkable is that the judge that slammed the Obama administration agency ploy to revoke mountaintop mining permits, saying the EPA invented authority where there was none, was nominated by President Obama, not once, but twice. Obama nominated Jackson to fill a vacant seat on the United States District Court for the District of Columbia on June 17, 2010. Her nomination lapsed at the end of 2010, but Obama renominated her on January 5, 2011 and the United States Senate confirmed Jackson in a 97-0 vote on March 17, 2011.
The repeated overreach of this administration is so blatant and apparent that is now being rebuked by it own hand-picked federal judges.