EPA Could Revoke Permit of Largest Mountaintop Removal Coal Mine in West Virginia


photo: Rachel Molenda via flickr

Stepping up to their promise of regulating mountaintop removal coal mining more stringently, the EPA is seeking to revoke the permit for West Virginia's largest mountaintop mining operation. The Charleston Gazette (via Yale Environment 360) reports that the EPA cites "clear evidence" of likely environmental damage in seeking to overturn the permit. Likely environmental damage? Uh, ya think so? Specifically, the EPA cited the potential of the 2,300 acre Spruce Mine to degrade downstream water quality as it blasts off the top a mountain and buries eight miles of streams with the waste.

Procedurally, EPA officials expressed their concerns to the Army Corps of engineers late last week -- the Corps then asked a federal judge to delay legal proceedings regarding the mine until it had a chance to review the permit.

In its letter to the Corps, the EPA said that studies show that there is essentially no effective way to replace stream functions buried by mining waste and that "surface mining with valley fills in Central Appalachia is strongly related to downstream biological impairment."

More: Charleston Gazette
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Tags: Coal | Pollution