EPA proposes to veto mining permit for West Virginia mountaintop mine

epa-veto-miningIn what is being seen as a rare move in the thirty years of mountaintop mining in the Virginia region, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Friday proposed to veto Arch Coal Inc.’s permit to mine the Spruce No. 1 site in Logan County, for filling streams and valleys with debris from a West Virginia mountaintop mine.

While the EPA’s veto decision marks the first time ever that that the agency has proposed to veto a mine with mining right, it will be the twelfth time that the EPA has availed its veto power for any project ever since the Clean Water Act of 1972 became law.

In a statement pertaining to its veto recommendation, the EPA elaborated on its decision to veto Arch Coal’s permit saying that the move will not only bury over seven miles of streams, but also threaten as many as 2,278 acres of forest-area.

The EPA said in a statement: “Landscape and site specific assessments reveal that past and current mountaintop mining has caused substantial, irreplaceable loss of resources and an irreversible effect on these resources within the Coal River basin.”

Nonetheless, acknowledging that “coal, and coal mining, is part of our nation's energy future,” the EPA regional administrator Shawn Garvin said that the agency is trying to “find a responsible path forward” by fostering a dialogue with Mingo Logan Mining Co. to work out a less destructive mining plan.