The National Mining Association has condemned a ruling by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit allowing the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency officials to “clearly and unambiguously” revoke Clean Water Act 404 (c) permits after prior issuance by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. The move reversed a lower court ruling annulling the EPA’s authority to void the Spruce No. 1 permit held by the Mingo Logan Coal Co., an Arch Coal subsidiary in West Virginia.

Arch Coal and the NMA expressed sound disapproval. “As a result, uncertainty now hangs over any project and companies will no longer have the assurance to encourage investments, grow our economy and create U.S. jobs,”

NMA President and CEO Hal Quinn said in a statement.

The court did not determine whether the EPA’s action in the particular case was permissible, however, and it has been remanded to the district court. Mingo Logan, for its part, may also pursue an “en banc” review of the latest decision, or petition for certiorari to the U.S. Supreme Court on the issue of the EPA’s Sec. 404 authority.

The NMA represents more than 325 businesses in all aspects of coal and solid minerals production including metal and industrial mineral producers, processors, manufacturers, state associations, engineering firms, financial institutions and other companies that supply goods and services to the mining industry.