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EPA to Corps of Engineers: Mountaintop Removal Mining Poses Serious Threat to US Waters

Obama administration reviewing pending mountaintop removal mining permits
March 24, 2009

Mountaintop removal mining at Kayford Mountain, West Virginia
Photo by V. Stockman
Washington, DC — 
The following statement is from Earthjustice attorney Jennifer Chavez on today's announcement by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency expressing "serious concerns about the need to reduce harmful impacts on water quality caused by certain types of coal mining practices," including mountaintop removal mining.

"This is a strong signal that the Obama administration is taking the right steps towards recognizing the importance of sound science and the law when it comes to mountaintop removal mining. Today's announcement and letters from the EPA to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers demonstrate a fresh perspective on the need to completely review the destructive impact that mountaintop removal mining has on streams and water quality throughout Appalachia. This is a victory for the people of Appalachia and for one of the must fundamental goals of the Clean Water Act: to prevent our entire nation's rivers, streams and lakes from being used as waste dumps.

"The EPA has promised to use the best science and follow the letter of the law to review pending mountaintop removal mining permits, and we applaud this monumental decision. We certainly hope that the EPA recognizes what we have known all along: that mountaintop removal mining permanently and completely destroys streams across Appalachia and causes severe harm to water quality in downstream communities. Nearly 30,000 Earthjustice supporters have joined thousands of others in writing to President Obama to fully review the environmental impacts of mountaintop removal mining, and we are pleased to see that their voices have been heard. While the Obama administration reviews the permits, it is critical that we continue working to protect the lasting American legacy of the mountains and streams in the communities of Appalachia."


Contact:

Raviya Ismail, Earthjustice, (202) 667-4500, ext. 237