The Latest On: Stop Mountaintop Removal Mining
President Obama’s efforts to rein in the coal industry and curb mountaintop removal mining have met with limited success as the mining industry and its allies have systematically stymied executive initiatives intended to check the devastating impacts of the surface mining practice on surrounding communities and wildlife. The EPA did secure a recent victory when the U.S. Court of Appeals in Washington, D.C. upheld the agency’s right to veto mining permits granted by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and various state agencies.
After decades of negligent oversight by West Virginia’s Department of Environmental Protection, eighteen environmental, civic, and religious groups have filed a joint petition asking the U.S. Office of Surface Mining and Reclamation to assume control of West Virginia’s regulatory program. Citing a long list of chronic failures—from overlooked violations and insufficient water-quality standards to inconsistent permitting and ineffectual fines—the groups seek to halt the damage taking place on currently mined lands and protect thousands of additional acres at risk.