Breaking from DC: EPA determines all pending MTR permits will undergo further review

posted by Rainforest Action Network

Hey everyone- Kate here, your resident Washington DC Coal campaigner dedicated to taking some of the wonk of our DC Beltway politics and get under the skin of decision makers until they realize just how serious we are about the issue of Mountaintop Removal.

Today the EPA made another important step forward in protecting the communities of Appalachia from the disastrous impacts of mountaintop removal mining. Under a process called “Enhanced Coordination Procedures” the EPA has put a temporary hold on 79 permits, which will now undergo further review before their fate is determined.

So did the EPA stop any MTR permits today? No, and Ken Ward gives a good explanation on his blog:

“But as the EPA statement said, EPA officials have determined that all 79 of these permits as they are currently proposed would not comply with the Clean Water Act. EPA is not denying the permits (though under some circumstances, EPA has the authority to override Corps of Engineers decisions to issue permits). Instead, EPA is saying that all 79 of these permits need to be more closely reviewed and perhaps changed so that they would comply with the law.”

You can read more about the Obama administration’s “enhanced coordination procedures” for reviewing these permits on EPA’s Web site here.  The list of 79 permits is here.

So what now you ask? Well we watch with extreme scrutiny during the next 2 months as the permits go under review. Last week during the finalization of this list I went out with other RAN activists and flyered the EPA office in DC during employees lunch break. We spoke with hundreds of employees, many of whom commented that they work on this issue. Its important that they know we are watching.

I’ll keep you updated and if you are ever in the DC area come down to the East Building of the EPA Headquarters at the corner of 12th and Constitution. You’ll likely find me there, with a tireless team of activists until mountaintop removal is ended once and for all.