Coal Tattoo

We’ve got a story posted over on the Gazette website with the latest on the King Coal Highway:

Federal regulators have concluded that promoters of the proposed King Coal Highway and an associated mountaintop removal mine have failed to examine construction and mining options that could greatly reduce environmental damage from the project.

In a letter released this morning, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency said that a study of the highway-mine plan did not fully consider alternatives, including one from a mining engineer EPA hired to draw up less-harmful options.

EPA Regional Administrator Shawn Garvin noted in the letter that CONSOL Energy’s proposed Buffalo Mountain Surface Mine “represents one of the largest surface coal mines ever proposed in Appalachia.” The operation would create a dozen valley fills, bury more than seven miles of streams and temporarily impact more than three more miles of streams.

Garvin said, though, that the latest project study “does not evaluate any project alternatives that may be available to avoid and minimize these impacts” or examine “alternatives that may provide the basis for a project that meets the identified goals and objectives in a cost-effective and technically feasible manner.”

You can read the letter for yourself here, and there’s previous coverage of this issue here, here, here and here.