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

September 11, 2009

Virginia Cramer, 804-225-9113 x 102

Mountain Joy: EPA to Scrutinize New Mountaintop Removal Coal Mining Permits

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency today announced that it has concerns about the environmental harm that would be caused by issuance of dozens of mountaintop removal coal mining permits. The EPA, which has been reviewing the permits since June, determined that all 79 of the mountaintop removal coal mining permits currently under review would violate the Clean Water Act.

In response Carl Pope, Executive Director of the Sierra Club issued the following statement.

"The fact that every single one of these pending permits would violate the Clean Water Act shows how irresponsibly callous and sloppy these mining companies really are.  This announcement is also a testament to the Obama Administration’s commitment to science, transparency and enforcing environmental safeguards.

"Today’s decision affirms that no one is above the laws designed to protect clean water in places like Appalachia. For eight long years mountaintop removal coal mining permits were allowed to move forward, no matter the cost to the nearby communities, mountaintops and valleys.

"While this is only a first step, continued reliance on sound science will ensure that the permits cannot be issued. The pervasive problems in all these permits and the sheer destructiveness of the practice of mountaintop removal mining are glaringly obvious and demand further action to protect clean water and public health. The ultimate solution to protecting streams, mountains and communities is to reverse Bush Administration rule changes, to adopt new regulations making clear that mining and other industrial waste cannot be used to fill streams, and to transition to cleaner energy sources."


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