Only a little overdue…
By Christopher J. Jackson Register-Herald Reporter
BECKLEY — The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has tightened limitations on mountaintop removal with new actions to “clarify” and strengthen guidelines for Appalachian mining permits.
EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson said Thursday the guidelines were long overdue and were being implemented to protect Appalachian communities from damaging impacts from mountaintop removal coal mining.
“This is not about ending coal mining. This is about ending coal mining pollution,” she said during a conference call. “Coal communities should not have to sacrifice their environment or their health or their economic future to mountaintop mining.”
The guidelines clarify existing requirements of Sections 402 and 404 of Clean Water Act permitting programs that apply to pollution from surface mining in order to protect waterways. It details how the agency uses the law to ensure that future mining will not cause harm to the environment, water quality and human health.
The EPA cited a growing body of scientific studies, including those conducted by former agency scientists, that waterways are damaged by runoff from mountaintop mining. Two scientific reports are being published for public comment and submitted for peer review to the EPA Science Advisory Board. Read more.