EPA Recommends Historic Veto of Spruce Mine

Timber ActionThis morning the U.S. EPA made public regional administrator Shawn Garvin's recommendation that the EPA veto the Clean Water Act Permit for the Spruce No. 1 Mine in Logan County, West Virginia.

The Spruce Mine is one of the largest mountaintop removal mines ever proposed in Central Appalachia and would result in the destruction of 2,278 acres of temperate rainforest and the burying of 7.5 miles of streams in the Spruce Fork sub-watershed.

Read RAN's new report which sets out why the Spruce No. 1 mine violates the EPA's guidance on surface mining.

Just last month RAN activists dumped half a ton of dirt from West Virginia in front of the EPA's headquartes in Washington, DC to call attention to the Spruce Mine, and to demand that the EPA move forward with a full veto of the permit. Now that Region 3's recommendation to veto the permit is public, the ball is in EPA's court. Now it is on EPA administrator Lisa Jackson to issue a veto for a mountaintop mine site that would clearly devastate water quality and community health.

The EPA is contending with some serious pressure from the coal industry and coal-state politicians. West Virginia Governor Manchin has been fighting on behalf of the coal industry to keep the disastrous mining practice alive by suing the EPA. Manchin's suit seeks to overturn administration policies aimed at curbing large-scale surface mining in Appalachia.

Rather than caving to the coal industry, it is time EPA do what the science and public health demands - end the practice of mountaintop removal mining once and for all - starting with a veto of the Spruce No.1 mine!

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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.