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Victory! EPA Vetoes WV’s Largest Mountaintop Removal Mine

Victory! EPA Vetoes WV’s Largest Mountaintop Removal Mine

After over a year of deliberation, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced Thursday that it would revoke permits for the Spruce No. 1 Mine in Logan County, the largest mountain top removal mine ever proposed in the state of West Virginia.

The EPA cited the Clean Water Act in its decision, stating “discharges associated with the DA Permit in Pigeonroost Branch, Oldhouse Branch and their tributaries will have unacceptable adverse effects on wildlife.”

The permit would have allowed the Arch Coal Company to mine about 2,300 acres of land; blasting off entire tops of mountains and bulldozing the debris into nearby valleys, and filling in more than seven miles of streams.

Local and national organizations that have been urging the EPA to fulfill its responsibilities to the environment and people of Appalachia for years are pleased with the decision.

“Spruce No. 1 is the only individual permit to have undergone a full Environmental Impact Statement (EIS),” said Janet Keating, executive director of the Ohio Valley Environmental Coalition. “The science completely validates what we have been saying for more than a decade: These types of mining operations are destroying our streams and forests and nearby residents’ health, and even driving entire communities to extinction. This type of steep slope coal mining is destroying our cultural heritage and our future.”

Anti-mountain top removal activists expect the backlash about this decision from the coal industry and certain politicians to be intense.

If you believe mountain top removal mining is a crime against the environment and Appalachian people, please take a moment to contact the EPA to thank the agency for vetoing this permit.

You can send your thanks to EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson at jackson.lisap@epa.gov. OVEC has been assured that those folks responsible for reviewing the science and making the decision will be apprised of your e-mail of support.

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Image Credit: Flickr - Rainforest Action Network

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92 comments

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11:17AM PST on Feb 13, 2011

Thank you, Beth.

thelastmountainmovie.com/

http://www.ringoffireradio.com/

11:10AM PST on Feb 1, 2011

In Romania (Rosia Montana), would need to oppose those who want to destroy the mountain and the archaeological site for mining.

11:10AM PST on Jan 23, 2011

As a property owner in WV, I'm thrilled. It's a hard place to make a living already, and being sick from the pollution resulting from mountaintop removal only makes that living harder. Coal companies are a greedy lot, taking advantage of people whose wealth is in their land. But they pollute, and seduce our congressional reps with their big campaign contributions. Hurray that at least the EPA couldn't be bought and did what it was formed to do -- protect the air and water we can't survive without.

11:20PM PST on Jan 22, 2011

thanx for article :0

6:01PM PST on Jan 22, 2011

Thanks for the article. How can anyone remove the top of a mountain and think that it is ok. It;s about time the EPA does their job.

6:26AM PST on Jan 21, 2011

I live in West Virginia and have been fighting this battle for years. We managed to save a mountain at last. The coal companies have kept this state under their thumb for years and blocked other "clean" jobs from the area. They are dirty in more than just one way. This was once such a beautiful state until they wreaked their havoc. They need to be forced to repair all the damage they have done. That would provide many, many jobs. They know how to destroy-they need to forced to fix the mess they so willingly and greedily created.

3:10AM PST on Jan 21, 2011

Hooray! They should stop mountain top removal all together! The mountain tops aren't going to re-generate.

5:30PM PST on Jan 20, 2011

Yes, Doug, and I hear the Governor is making a call to arms to try to undo the EPA ruling. I learned this morning that if they stop now, the cleanup of all the damage to all the mountaintops will more than cover the lost jobs from mining. I will take decades to restore the area. That's a lot of jobs. Watch out for this Governor.

3:31PM PST on Jan 20, 2011

This is such great news! One day when I have children I want to be able to take them to beautiful places, such as the Appalachian Mountains, without eyesores and evidence of land being raped. I hope that this trend continues and the EPA and other government agencies realize that the Earth needs us to take a stand against these horrors and deny further permits down the road.

2:04PM PST on Jan 20, 2011

Unfortunately, there will be those who will lose their jobs, but toxic fossil fuels must be replaced by sustainable energy sources if we are to continue breathing on earth. Let the workers get involved with this effort. They will live longer, and so will their families.

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Beth Buczynski Beth is a freelance writer and editor living in the Rocky Mountain West. So far, Beth has lived in... more
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