EPA Reviews Permits for 79 Mountaintop Removal Coal Mining Operations
photo: Jake McClendon via flickr
Yesterday we heard that the EPA was seeking to revoke the permit for West Virginia's largest mountaintop removal coal mine. Now they've just released their preliminary permit reviews for 79 other proposed mines, in four Appalachian states. All were found to have likely water quality impact that would require additional review under the Clean Water Act:In touting the reviews being released, EPA head Lisa Jackson said,
The administration pledged earlier this year to improve review of mining projects that risked harming water quality. Release of this preliminary list is the first step in a process to assure that the environmental concerns raised by the 79 permit applications are addressed and that permits issued are protective of water quality and affected ecosystems.Negative Water Quality Impacts Not Likely, AssuredLike I said yesterday: Likely water quality impact that requires additional review? You think so?!?
We look forward to working closely with the Army Corps of Engineers, with the involvement of the mining companies, to achieve a resolution of EPA's concerns that avoids harmful environmental impacts and meets our energy and economic needs.
Mountaintop removal coal mining doesn't just blast the top off a mountain, the waste has to be disposed of someplace and that place is generally in the streams and valleys around the mountain. There's always severe degradation of water quality and severe disruption of ecosystems, often extending far downstream.
Which is long-winded way of saying, good on the EPA for stepping up on this one -- now let's just hope they side with science here to protect waterways and not with polluters to protect profits.
More on the list of 79 permits, including hot to submit comments on them: EPA
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