EPA moves to block the largest MTR mine in West Virginia

posted by Rainforest Action Network

We’re hearing some reassuring news from the EPA this morning.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced today that it is moving to block the largest mountaintop removal mining permit in West Virginia history, at Spruce Mine, operated by Arch Coal in Logan County.

EPA Region 3 Administrator, Shawn Garvin, made the following statement:

Coal, and coal mining, is part of our nation’s energy future, and for that reason EPA has made repeated efforts to foster dialogue and find a responsible path forward. But we must prevent the significant and irreversible damage that comes from mining pollution — and the damage from this project would be irreversible. This recommendation is consistent with our broader Clean Water Act efforts in Central Appalachia. EPA has a duty under the law to protect water quality and safeguard the people who rely on these waters for drinking, fishing and swimming.”

The EPA’s move to veto the Spruce mine permit is a big step for Appalachia’s historic mountains, clean water and community health. It is clear that EPA is responding to the resounding citizen opposition against blowing apart our nation’s oldest mountains.

It seems that EPA Administrator Jackson’s concern over the impacts of mountaintop removal coal mining on human health and waterways is now translating into meaningful action.

The science is clear that mountaintop removal is harming water resources in real and measurable ways. We hope that the Spruce Mine veto is a sign that EPA is going to begin using its full authority to stop this devastating practice.

We urge the EPA to take holistic and preventative measures, to issue no new MTR permits and end this devastating practice once and for all.