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Press Room:  For Immediate Release 
Explore, Enjoy and Protect the Planet

May 15, 2009
Contact: Oliver Bernstein, 512.477.2152,

Administration Moves Closer to Allowing
More Devastating Mountaintop Removal Coal Mining

Washington, D.C. Today Representative Nick Rahall (D-WV) announced that the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has reportedly given the green light to the Army Corps of Engineers to approve as many as 42 new permits for destructive mountaintop removal coal mining in Appalachia. If true, and if these permits -- more than were even approved during recent years by the Bush Administration -- were to proceed, this could mean certain destruction of hundreds of miles of Appalachian streams and hundreds of acres of America’s oldest mountains.

Statement of Sierra Club Executive Director Carl Pope:

"Today’s reported approval of a wave of new mountaintop removal coal mines would represent a leap in the wrong direction. With the bulldozers and explosives standing by in Appalachia, the Obama administration should take bold action to protect communities, streams and mountains before it’s too late.

"The current permitting process is flawed, tampered with by the Bush administration to make it easier for coal companies to extract coal at the expense of the environment and coal field communities.

"Because it appears that the EPA is unwilling to intervene, it is now imperative that the White House Council on Environmental Quality take immediate action to stop the bulldozers. The Obama administration should take swift action to fix the flawed “fill rule” that enables this type of devastating mining and should act decisively to save the mountains, rivers and communities of Appalachia."

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