President Obama pulls coal mine permit.
For the first time, the Environmental Protection Agency is revoking a permit already issued, taking back its approval for Arch Coal’s Spruce No.1 mine in southern West Virginia. EPA said the mine would cause unacceptable damage to local waterways and public health.
EPA’s decision is a major victory for environmental groups, who have fought against the mine since it was proposed more than a decade and cements agency administrator Lisa Jackson’s status as their environmental hero. The George W. Bush administration had approved the Clean Water Act permit in 2007.
Joe Manchin, West Virginia’s new Democratic senator, vowed Thursday to do everything in his power to block EPA’s move, calling it a “shocking display of overreach.”
The industry is launching an all-out assault on the agency as well. Arch Coal, which needs the permit to discharge rock waste it generates while mining, says EPA lacks the authority to retract the permit and is fighting the agency in federal court. And a coalition of groups ranging from the National Mining Association to the Farm Bureau wrote to White House Council on Environmental Quality chief Nancy Sutley Wednesday asking her to overrule EPA.
The veto is the latest step in EPA’s crackdown on water pollution from mountaintop removal mining. The agency in 2008 blocked the Army Corps of Engineers from issuing nearly 80 permits for proposed Appalachian mines – saying they needed additional review to comply with the Clean Water Act – and in April, the agency introduced a new, tougher standard for obtaining permits.
EPA insists it is not cracking down on coal, it is just enforcing Clean Water Act standards that the previous administration neglected. “Coal and coal mining are part of our nation’s energy future,” EPA Assistant Administrator for Water Peter Silva said today. “We have a responsibility under the law to protect water quality and safeguard the people who rely on clean water.”
WIN! for Mother Earth! Mountain top mining is HORRIBLE for not only the environment, but also the people living in the communities as well. Science News published an article detailing the chilling effects mountaintop coal mining has on wildlife (poisoning fish, seeping into groundwater, etc).
The EPA is not cracking down on coal mining, it’s enforcing the Clean Water Act. Just like how the Food and Drug Administration enforced banning four loko drinks, they are just enforcing laws powered by the constituents.
W.Virginians might not like what the EPA regulates, but like those who’ve lost their job due to the Wall Street Crisis of ’08, they musty adapt. Just like college kids when their beloved four loko drink got canned from the shelves.