Coal Tattoo


Photo by Vivian Stockman

EPA has finally decided to respond to Congressman Rahall’s announcement about the agency clearing dozens of mountaintop removal permits for approval by the U.S.  Army Corps of Engineers.

Here’s the statement from  Adora Andy, the press secretary for EPA administrator Lisa Jackson:

“EPA continues to conduct a detailed and rigorous review of all pending Clean Water Act permits for mines in the Appalachian coalfields.  We have concluded, under the law, that six projects of an initial 48 permits EPA reviewed,  will not proceed unless adverse environmental impacts are further reduced. We will continue to follow the law and use the best science as we quickly and thoroughly evaluate over 150 pending applications to reduce harmful environmental impacts.”

“EPA decided not to provide additional comments on the remaining 42 permits after consideration of the nature and extent of project impacts. 28 of the projects have two or fewer valley fills.  Eleven have no valley fills at all.  None have more than six.  EPA’s understanding is that none of the projects would permanently impact high value streams that flow year round.  By contrast, EPA has opposed six permits because they all would result in significant adverse impacts to high value streams, involve large numbers of valley fills, and impact watersheds with extensive previous mining impacts.”

The statement also included this list of the six permits that EPA has objected to:

Alex Energy, Republic No. 1
Central Appalachian Mining, Big Branch
Jeffco Resources, North Barnesville
Kimble Clay & Limestone, Hunt
CONSOL of Ky, Peg Fork
Highland Mining, Reylas

Where I have them, I have included a link to the EPA objection letter …  if you happen to have any of the other letters, drop me an e-mail with them attached, and I’ll post them as well.

Much more on this coming next week, folks — along with some more reporting on the issue West Virginia political leaders really don’t want to talk about: Whether mountaintop removal contributes to flooding.