September 30, 2009
Contact: Oliver Bernstein, Sierra Club, 512-477-2152
Environmental Protection Agency Reasserts Concerns about New Mountaintop Removal Coal Mining Permits
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) today reasserted its concerns about the potential environmental harm that would be caused by the issuance of dozens of new mountaintop removal coal mining permits in Appalachia. The EPA, which announced on September 11, 2009 that all 79 of the mountaintop removal coal mining permits currently under agency review would violate the Clean Water Act, today formally announced that it would conduct an enhanced review of all 79 permits.
In response Mary Anne Hitt, Deputy Director of the Sierra Club's Beyond Coal Campaign, issued the following statement:
"We praise today's announcement and hope it is just one of many positive actions the Obama administration will take toward ending mountaintop removal coal mining. An enhanced review of each of these pending permits will surely prove that this most destructive form of coal mining is incompatible with clean water.
"Now the only way to truly protect the people, streams and mountains of Appalachia is to reverse the Bush-era rule changes that allowed coal companies to dump waste into waterways. We call on the Obama administration to reinstate the original intent of the Clean Water Act and to prevent mining waste from being used as fill material."