By now, it’s no secret in the environmental community that there was an unprecedented scientific report on mountaintop removal released a few days ago which found the obvious
“Mining permits are being issued despite the preponderance of scientific evidence that impacts are pervasive and irreversible and that mitigation cannot compensate for losses. Considering environmental impacts of MTM/VF, in combination with evidence that the health of people living in surface-mining regions of the central Appalachians may be compromised by mining activities, we conclude that MTM/VF permits should not be granted unless new methods can be subjected to rigorous peer-review and shown to remedy these problems.”
“Patriot Coal will cut in half the length of streams buried by its Hobet 45 mountaintop-removal mine, but still produce nearly the same amount of coal as the company originally hoped, under a deal announced Tuesday by the Obama administration.”
So, instead of burying 6 miles of streams, we’re only going to bury 3. Jeez, 3 miles of streams is good? Have you ever run a 3 mile race? I’ve run a ton, that’s a LOT of streams getting buried. How does that abide by the Clean Water Act, as the EPA claims in their statement on the matter
“These are important examples of EPA’s work to bring clarity to this process. Our role, along with the Army Corps of Engineers, is to ensure that mining companies avoid environmental degradation and protect water quality so that Appalachian communities don’t have to choose between jobs and their health,” said EPA Administrator Lisa P. Jackson. “Working closely with mining companies, our federal and state partners, and the public, our goal is to ensure Americans living in coal country are protected from environmental, health and economic damage.”
In a letter sent today, EPA advised the Army Corps of Engineers that, as a result of changes agreed to by Hobet Mining LLC after discussions with EPA, the Hobet 45 mine now meets the requirements of the Clean Water Act, clearing the way for a final permit.”
Here’s the 14 page letter the EPA sent to the Army Corp of Engineers outlining the deal
The most dangerous thing about this deal is it sets a precedent of what will likely follow for the mountaintop removal permits which the EPA put on hold because of the harm they would cause because of the violation of federal regulations. It also shows that the EPA is willing to continue spitting in the face of the science, and make political deals that should take a backseat to federal regulations they are violating. Forget about 3 miles, the EPA shouldn’t be giving out permits for any scenario where so much as a foot of streams is buried.