According to Jon Devine, senior attorney at the Natural Resources Defense Council, the EPA has shown real "guts" this week in rescinding the permit that would have allowed Arch Coal Inc to blow the top off an Appalachian mountain.
But the Sceptic Tank has to disagree; this is American politics after all and what the EPA has really displayed is a pair of President George W Bush's beloved cojones – cojones of pure steel.
In a world where regulatory watchdogs tend to have more in common with arthritic Dachshunds than ferocious Rottweilers, the EPA has found some serious teeth in recent months and has now followed up its crackdown on greenhouse gas emissions by facing down political and business leaders and blocking one of the most environmentally destructive projects on the planet.
It will come as no surprise to learn this decision has not gone down well with West Virginia's coal-funded Senators.
"Fundamentally wrong", thundered senator Joe Manchin, apparently unaware the decision was driven by the desire to stop his state's water being poisoned. "Outrageous" and "needless", whined Senator Jay Rockefeller, choosing to ignore the fact the EPA had undertaken an extensive scientific study, held a major public hearing in West Virginia, and reviewed more than 50,000 public comments.
In short, the EPA has delivered a victory for science, the environment and the rule of law. The Sceptic Tank would like to take this opportunity to express its heartfelt admiration for the EPA's balls.
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