SAN FRANCISCO (April 1, 2010) – The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced today a major new guidance document that provides the coal industry and coal-state regulators with “clarity” regarding the permitting of mountaintop removal coal mining. This comes just days after the EPA blocked the Clean Water Act permit for the Spruce No. 1 Mine in Logan County, the largest mountaintop removal permit in West Virginia history. Following is a statement by Amanda Starbuck of the Rainforest Action Network.
“After months of steps, the EPA has finally taken a leap to protect America’s mountains and drinking water from mountaintop removal coal mining. This is a clear response to resounding public opposition to the devastating mining practice.
“The EPA is finally flexing its full authority under the clean water act to curtail valley fills and protect the health of our waterways from irreversible damage. Coal operators and state mining regulators will have to contend with this rigorous mandate.
“The EPA has confirmed what science tells us, that mountaintop removal is harming water resources and public health in real and measurable ways, which is why these new guidelines should apply to existing mining permits not just new ones.
"Moving forward, we urge the EPA to take holistic measures to end this devastating practice once and for all. We cannot end mountaintop removal coal mining pollution without ending mountaintop removal all together. The EPA has and must use its authority under the clean water act to stop this devastating practice.”
Rainforest Action Network runs hard-hitting campaigns to break North America’s fossil fuels addiction, protect endangered forests and Indigenous rights, and stop destructive investments around the world through education, grassroots organizing, and non-violent direct action. For more information, please visit: www.ran.org