Bush Administration Takes Another Last Minute Poke at the Environment: Approves Easier Coal Mine Waste Dumping in Streams

mountaintop coal mining photo

The top of that mountain on the right has been removed because of coal mining. Photo: Chris

I guess President Bush just couldn't be content to ride off quietly into the sunset towards Crawford, Texas. It seems instead his administration is determined to create as much environment mischief before the end of the year as possible. The latest act of environmental vandalism: Approving a final rule which will make it easier for coal companies to dump waste from mountaintop mining operations into streams and valleys. (New York Times)

Predictably (and quite correctly) environmental groups squared off against the government on this one:
According to the Environmental Defense Fund ,

This is unmistakably a fire sale of epic size for coal and the entire fossil fuel industry, with flagrant disregard for human health, the environment or the rule of law.

Joan Mulhern, a lawyer at Earthjustice also weighed in,

With less than two months left in power the Bush administration is determined to cement its legacy as having the worst environmental record in history.

And the Sierra Club took a swipe at the EPA,

The E.P.A.'s own scientists have concluded that dumping mining waste into streams devastates downstream water quality. By signing off on this rule, the agency has abdicated its responsibility.

But the Interior Department doesn't quite see this ruling in the same light,

This rule strengthens protections for streams. Federal law allows coal mine waste to be placed in streams, and the rule tightens restrictions as to when, where and how those discharges can occur.

Come on, coal mine waste in streams? How can that be a good thing in any circumstance? It's like saying 'What's to worry about? It's just a little bit of cancer."

via: The New York Times
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