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Victory! EPA Vetoes Spruce Mine Permit

Thursday, January 13th, 2011

EPA announced today that they will be vetoing the largest mountaintop removal permit in WV history. is thrilled to hear that EPA will be vetoing this permit in order to protect human health and aquatic ecosystems in central Appalachia. EPA’s own science has shown that mountaintop removal has permanent negative impacts on Appalachia, and we hope they will continue to stand strong in stopping mine permits that will have a negative impact on the well-being of the central Appalachian land and people.

EPA’s Peter Silva hit the nail on the head:

The proposed Spruce No. 1 Mine would use destructive and unsustainable mining practices that jeopardize the health of Appalachian communities and clean water on which they depend. Coal and coal mining are part of our nation’s energy future, and EPA has worked with companies to design mining operations that adequately protect our nation’s water. We have responsibility under the law to protect water quality and safeguard the people who rely on clean water.

The bottom line is that we don’t need to poison our streams and our communities in order to mine coal in the central Appalachian region. Three cheers to EPA for doing what is right, even though they faced tremendous political pressure to let this harmful and toxic mine just slide by.

Congress can make these protections permanent, while adding stability and clarity to the process by passing popular bipartisan legislation such as the Clean Water Protection Act (House) and Appalachia Restoration Act (Senate). Recently, 50 members of Congress sent a letter to EPA thanking them for doing the right thing by taking steps to end mountaintop removal. Congressman Rahall (D-WV) also said that legislation to end the practice had more than 400 votes in the House, but that he was the only person blocking the bill. Its time that Representatives like Congressman Rahall and Senator Manchin start protecting their constituents and stop wasting their time and political capital defending a destructive, toxic, and unnecessary practice like mountaintop removal. Its time that our elected officials start thinking less about appeasing the coal lobby and more about protecting Appalachian citizens who live in communities where coal is mined.

In one of his last public statements, Senator Robert C. Byrd said:

It is also a reality that the practice of mountaintop removal mining has a diminishing constituency in Washington. It is not a widespread method of mining, with its use confined to only three states. Most members of Congress, like most Americans, oppose the practice, and we may not yet fully understand the effects of mountaintop removal mining on the health of our citizens.

Ken Ward has more at Coal Tattoo and Jeff Biggers has a beautiful piece at HuffPo called EPA Vetoes Largest Mountaintop Removal Permit: New Era of Civility in the Coalfields? .

Congratulations to every single person who helped make this possible.

6 Responses to “Victory! EPA Vetoes Spruce Mine Permit”

  1. John Meshna Says:

    I’m very pleased to see a victory for the earth once and a while. We shouldn’t be complacent however. Those who wish to continue doing these destructive things will never give up. I’m certain this decision will find it’s way into the slanted right wing court system.

    All of us can do our part by conserving energy every single day we live. We wouldn’t need so much coal and fossil fuel if we would use only what we really need to get our lives done each day. Sounds obvious to a lot of people but from what I’ve seen many people still aren’t connecting their lifestyle and daily activities with a degraded environment. Even some who say the support environmental causes still miss the boat in this area and need lots of education and encouragement.

  2. Jay Macpherson Says:

    To EPA: Please continue to veto mountaintop removals! Times are changed: we are learning that we can no longer ride roughshod over both Nature and the locals. As a Canadian, I am implicated in the Alberta tar sands, which have devastated vast areas and raised cancer rates among neighbours (mostly First Nations): meantime we all continue our wasteful lifestyles.

    To ilovemountains: Hey guys, real runaround before I actually got to “Thank EPA”–as a Canadian I can’t contact my Congressperson, but still want to speak out. (Yes, periodically I do donate.) PS. I like Rev. Mark’s prayer.

  3. Larry Jordan Says:

    Thank God we may finally be stopping this destructive practice! If we can get congress to make this a permanent change, perhaps we can save what’s left of the Appalachia Mountains for our children and grandchildren. I urge everyone to follow the link to email their congressmen and support ending this horrific practice.

  4. Arlene Brown Says:

    I’ve seen the destruction while on annual motorcycle rides from our home in North Carolina to Kentucky. It’s such a beautiful part of the country to ride and enjoy the scenery. But the destruction is such a blight on the region, and I hope it is put to a stop as soon as possible. Much success with your efforts.

  5. tyler Says:

    you all are crazy this is a way of life for many people

  6. james Says:

    Dear Tyler, I can appreciate your concerns. But as the outlaw Josey Wales once said, “dying ain’t much of a livin’ boy” Is this the kind of world you want to leave your kin?

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