The EPA Must Veto Spruce Mine

Map of Logan CountyThe Spruce No. 1 mountaintop removal (MTR) coal mine in Logan County, West Virginia, is the largest mountaintop removal mine ever proposed in Central Appalachia. Currently one of the most heavily mined counties in West Virginia, Logan County ranks second in the state for both total coal production and surface-mined coal.

RAN’s report finds that the environmental impacts of Spruce No. 1 mine would result in the destruction of 2,278 acres of biologically diverse forest and the construction of six valley fills, which would permanently bury 7.5 miles of streams. In addition, for a region already devastated by surface mining, this mine would severely worsen existing problems of water quality, wildlife and forest loss.

Because these impacts are so severe and would likely violate the Clean Water Act, the EPA is considering a veto of Spruce No. 1 mine.

EPA Region 3 has recently issued a recommendation that the EPA veto the Spruce mine permit, due to its impact adverse impacts on aquatic life. A final decision from the EPA's Headquarters is expected soon. The findings in RAN’s report clearly show the mining permit violates the EPA’s standards for MTR permits. Based on an analysis of the EPA’s own language, we demand that the EPA stop the Spruce Mine permit from going forward, destroying forests, mountains and waterways in one of America’s most important regions.

We need your help to stop the further demolition of the Appalachian Mountains, the contamination of vital streams and drinking water, the risk to human health and the escalation of the climate crisis through deforestation and the burning of fossil fuels.

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From the cradle to the grave, coal is a risky business. Each stage in the life cycle of coal–extraction, transportation and combustion–presents increasing health, environmental, reputational, legislative and financial risks.