Locals Say MTR Mining Continues Despite EPA Veto

Residents living near the Spruce No. 1 mine in West Virginia say that mining operations have continued unabated despite the EPA’s December decision to veto the mine’s permit.

The mine was the largest mountain top removal operation ever approved, covering an area larger than Pittsburgh. In its decision, the EPA cited the Clean Water Act, stating “discharges associated with the DA Permit in Pigeon Roost Branch, Oldhouse Branch and their tributaries will have unacceptable adverse effects on wildlife.”

It’s sad that the EPA refused to acknowledge the similar effects the mine would have on humans living in the area–effects that have continued despite revocation of the permit.

Climate Ground Zero (CGZ) recently spoke with resident James “Jimmy” Weekley, who has lived on the upper reaches of Pigeon Roost Branch for all of his 71 years, his family having moved here in 1734. He was a UMWA member and an underground miner for 15 years.

From his property, Weekley has a unique view on mining operations, and told CGZ reporters that if anything, they’ve only expanded since the veto.

“They are going forward as if the permit hadn’t been denied,” said Weekley. “They are moving in a dragline in now in pieces and have already run the power lines for it. They are doing it as fast as they can.”

Lawyers working with the Ohio Valley Environmental Coalition, the West Virginia Highlands Conservancy and the Appalachian Center for the Economy and the Environment are looking into Weekley’s complaint to see if he has any legal options to stop the work…even though the EPA should be enforcing their own decision.

Read more about Weekley’s story on Climate Ground Zero.

Take Action!
Tell Banks To Stop Investing In Mountain Top Removal!

Email EPA Administrator Lisa P. Jackson and tell her to inforce her agency’s decisions: jackson.lisap@epa.gov.

Related Reading:
West Virginia Sues Feds Over Mountain Top Removal Permits
Will Banks Ever Stop Financing Mountain Top Removal?
Share Your Story To Help Stop Mountain Top Removal

Image: Mountain top removal site near Rawl, West Virginia
Image Credit: ilovemountains.org

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39 comments

Travis Flickinger

why doesn't someone establish an environmental armed forces, so that we can simply push out any defiance from these companies

Barbara Erdman
Barbara Erdman4 years ago

signed petition and noted

Eric D.
Eric Drage4 years ago

Save the earth and humanity

Demian v.
Wendy V.5 years ago

Makes you wonder who got paid what, another example of how it really doesn't matter what the people want...

You know sometimes I'd like to take things into my own hands... I know violence breeds violence and 2 wrongs don't make a right... But when will this stop, when will 'they' listen to us?

Cory R.
Cory R.5 years ago

Why on earth are they being allowed to continue? Is this not illegal to do without a permit? The people in charge should be arrested.

Roxana J.
Roxana J.5 years ago

this is so sad!

Robin T.
Robin T.5 years ago

Hey! it's only the environment, our futures, the planets future, our children's future, whats that compared to a couple of million dollars.

Make a difference, plant a tree.

Sarah G.
Sarah Gilmore5 years ago

great article... wish more people would check out the documentary Coal Country.. maybe it would motivate them to organize more action against the destruction going on.. between coal & uranium mining, we are really screwing up things by continueing to sit by idlely..

K s Goh
KS Goh5 years ago

Thanks for the article.

Lynn C.
Lynn C.5 years ago

Yep...And we're groping at airports to stop terrorists, we have the NSA monitoring every American's website, we have a military developing new (and horrible) super weapons to 'protect' our country's people....and the real threats to our lives, our health and our ultimate viability as a nation are allowed to rape and pillage at will and with no fear of reprisal.