USEPA Yanks Existing Fill Permit For Spruce Mine #1: Largest Mountain Top Removal Project Ever Proposed

never used section 404 authority image

Stream fill permit revoked by USEPA under never-before used statutory authority.
Image credits:WV Gazette, pdf file excerpts, letter of October 16, 2009, from USEPA Region III, Acting Regional Administrator, to USAE West Virginia District Engineer.

The biggest Rocky Top execution ever scheduled by an Appalachian coal company has been called off by the Obama Administration. Seven miles of stream bed will not be buried as a result. EPA yanked a final permit for the Spruce #1 mine: one approved earlier by the US Army Corps of Engineers. This is a real precedent setter, administratively speaking. As the circled sentence indicates, it's the first time that EPA has invoked a regulatory power established 35 years ago Congress. The revocation ought to be a 'what were we thinking' moment for the US Army Corps of Engineers. Will the mining company write the project off; or will it fight for the permit it at the public hearing, or, later, in the courts?If the decision is fought, we may well see something akin to the 'Scopes Monkey Trial 'circus that the US Chamber of Commerce was hoping for. Given the Agency's cited analysis, that would be a high stakes, all-or-nothing move.

seven miles streams buried image

Seven additional miles of streams would be buried if the Spruce #1 Mine work proceeded to completion.

Do they feel lucky?

Will Federal Courts side with the coalies?

We'll see.

Additional posts on Mountain Top Removal coal mining.
EPA Could Revoke Permit of Largest Mountaintop Removal Coal Mine in West Virginia
Angry Coal Miners Boycott Tennessee Vacations Over Mountaintop Removal Mining
What Remains After the Continued Leveling of Appalachia