EPA Vows to Scrutinize Applications for New Mountaintop Removal Coal Mining Permits Citing Concerns Over Environmental Impacts
October 6, 2009
On September 30, 2009, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency reasserted its concerns about the potential environmental harm that would be caused by the issuance of dozens of new mountaintop removal coal mining permits in Appalachia. The EPA has determined that all of the mountaintop removal coal mining permit applications currently under agency review would likely violate the Clean Water Act. EPA and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers will conduct an enhanced review of all 79 permit applications.
September 22, 2009
On September 11, 2009, Sierra Club and its allies achieved a monumental victory for Appalachian communities and waterways when the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced that all 79 applications for mountaintop removal permits currently under review would be subject to additional coordinated review between EPA and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. EPA stated that its decision was based on concerns about the environmental harm that would be caused if the permits were issued. The agency determined that all 79 permit applications under review had the potential to violate the Clean Water Act. Mountaintop removal mining destroys valuable headwater streams and discharges water pollution downstream. EPA’s announcement initiated a 14-day public comment period, which is expected to be followed by a 60-day period in which the EPA and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers will jointly review the permits.
Sierra Club and its allies commend the EPA for its decision, but recognize it as only a first step. As Mary Anne Hitt, Deputy Director of Sierra Club’s Beyond Coal Campaign, said, “[w]e applaud this action by the Obama Administration to return the rule of law to the Appalachian coalfields. The next step in the administration's review process should confirm that these permits cannot be issued. The ultimate solution to protecting communities, mountains and streams is to now revise Bush administration rules to make clear that mining and other industrial waste cannot be used to fill streams.”
Details and Documents:
Environmental Protection Agency Reasserts Concerns about New Mountaintop Removal Coal Mining Permits
September 30, 2009, Sierra Club Press Release
EPA Plans Scientific Scrutiny of New Mountaintop Removal Coal Mining PermitsSeptember 11, 2009, Sierra Club Press Release
U.S. EPA Delays 79 Mountaintop-Shearing Coal Permits
September 30, 2009 by Jim Efstathiou Jr., Bloomberg.com
EPA: All 79 mining permits need more review
September 30, 2009 by Ken War Jr., The Charleston Gazette
EPA Reviews 79 Mountaintop Removal Coal Permits
September 11, 2009 by Jim Efstathiou Jr., Bloomberg.com
EPA questions mountaintop removal permits
September 11, 2009 by Erica Peterson, Jessica Lilly and Scott Finn, West Virgina Public Broadcasting
See other "Stopping Mountaintop Removal and Other Destructive Mining" cases.