Coal Tattoo

Coming soon: New EPA report on mountaintop removal


Photo by Vivian Stockman

Look for the U.S. EPA to issue a new draft scientific report on mountaintop removal’s environmental impacts sometime in early November.

That’s the word from  Michael Slimak, associated director of ecology at EPA’s National Center for Environmental Assessment. The report is being prepared by Slimak’s center, which is part of EPA’s Office of Research and Development.

News that EPA was preparing this study came out last week when agency officials published a notice seeking nominations for a Science Advisory Board ad hoc panel to provide peer review of the report.

Slimak told me yesterday that his center’s report is due by Nov. 1, but could be delayed for a week or two. He expects a draft to be made public by Nov. 15. The ad hoc review panel would then meet, hopefully sometime in January, and a final EPA document would be released perhaps in the spring.

The report is a review of existing peer-reviewed and published scientific research and data about the impacts of mountaintop removal on water quality and related issues. Interestingly, Slimak told me that some of the coal industry research on these issues is not going to be examined as part of the EPA effort, because most of it has not been published in peer-reviewed journals, which are essentially the “gold standard” for scientists.