Court decision backs EPA
Earth Justice reports:
Today Judge Amy Berman Jackson of the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia upheld the Environmental Protection Agency’s veto of a permit for one of the largest and most extreme mountaintop removal coal mines ever proposed in Appalachia, the Spruce No. 1 Mine. The court found no merit in the coal industry’s case, and found that EPA’s decision to veto the Clean Water Act permit for this mine was reasonable and fully supported by the scientific record.
(source - Mother Nature Network)
The criticism of the EPA in West Virginia that we hear over and over again is that the agency is overly-active and goes too far in its regulating of WV coal mining. Politicians, candidates, electric utilities, and local newspapers lead the charge. With regards to mountaintop removal, however, a different group of critics argue just the opposite - that the agency and the federal government have been far too lax. Unfortunately, their voices are seldom heard:
Here's a reality check: Since President Obama took office in 2009, not a single top-level official from the White House, the EPA, the Council on Environmental Quality, the Department of the Interior, or the Department of Justice has ever made a fact-finding tour of mountaintop removal mining communities in central Appalachia, home to one of the worst health and humanitarian disasters in the nation. Even worse, a federal judge ruled last month that the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers may disregard studies on the health impacts of mountaintop removal mining in its permitting process.
Activists now have reason to hope:
That could finally change with the newly appointed Department of Health and Human Service Secretary Sylvia Burwell, who was born and raised in Hinton, West Virginia.
"We implore you to come home for a visit, come to our mountaintop removal communities in the Coal River Valley," nationally-honored West Virginia advocate Bo Webb wrote in a letter to Burwell this week. "Come to Twilight and Lindytown and see what mountaintop removal is doing to us."
Read about their efforts here.