Stop a 2,000-acre mountaintop removal mine before it starts
In 2008, the West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) granted a 2,000-acre surface mine permit to Alpha Natural Resources. The Eagle 2 permit is situated on Coal River Mountain, which local citizens have been fighting long and hard to protect from mountaintop removal mining. Though the permit was granted years ago, no mining has yet taken place. Because of this, the DEP should revoke the permit.
The Surface Mining Control and Reclamation Act states that a permit “shall terminate” if not started within three years. But the DEP retroactively extended the permit without justification. When Coal River Mountain Watch complained to the federal Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement (OSMRE) that the permit should be terminated, OSMRE ultimately sided with the DEP. Now, after years of litigation, a federal judge has ruled that decision should be reconsidered. The OSMRE has requested “supplemental information” from the DEP. At this point, the new secretary of the DEP, Austin Caperton, can make the right decision and declare the Eagle 2 permit terminated in accordance with federal and state law.