EPA: Blowing Big Coal’s Top on Mountaintop Coal Mining
“While the coal industry has been cutting jobs and cutting corners in Appalachia, clean energy and efficiency investments there could generate almost 80,000 jobs by 2030 and save consumers more than $25 billion in energy costs.”
- Sierra Club Executive Director Michael Brune
If it were ever possible or even realistic to put the words Appalachia and victory in the same sentence, this might be one of those rare times: the Environmental Protection Agency‘s Region 3 Administrator Shawn Garvin has recommended the withdrawal of the mining permit for the nation’s largest proposed mountaintop removal coal mine site, the Spruce No. 1 Mine in Logan County, West Virginia.
If Garvin’s decision, released in an 84-page report on Friday, becomes the final EPA say about Spruce No. 1, the mine’s owner, Arch Coal, will be barred from disposing mining waste in the state’s streams. This will effectively block operation of the mine.
f allowed to proceed, Spruce No.1 would clear more than 2,200 acres of forest, bury more than seven miles of headwater streams, and contaminate the downstream water supply. In mountaintop coal removal, the tops of mountains are literally blasted away to get at the coal seams below.
Environmental groups, including the Sierra Club and the National Resources Defense Council immediately hailed the decision.