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 firstname.lastname@example.org. 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.
Image Credit: Flickr - Rainforest Action Network