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October 15, 2010
Contact: Oliver Bernstein, Sierra Club, 512.289.8618

Victory for Appalachians as a Determined EPA Recommends No More Mining at Biggest Proposed Mountaintop Removal Coal Mine

Statement from Sierra Club Executive Director Michael Brune

Washington, D.C. -- The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) took courageous action today to protect the people and waterways of Appalachia when Shawn Garvin, the agency's Region 3 Administrator, recommended the withdrawl of the mining permit for America's largest proposed mountaintop removal coal mine site, the Spruce No. 1 Mine in Logan County, West Virginia.

In response Sierra Club Executive Director Michael Brune issued the following statement:

"The Sierra Club praises the EPA, Lisa Jackson and Regional Administrator Shawn Garvin for staring down Big Coal and industry lobbyists and doing what's right for Appalachians and hardworking Americans everywhere. This mother of all mountaintop removal coal mines would destroy thousands of acres of land, bury seven miles of streams and end a way of life for too many Appalachian families.

"We stand with the local grassroots heroes who have spent over a decade fighting this largest mountaintop removal coal mine, and today's announcement is a victory for everyone who has stood up for their air, water and health. While the coal industry has been cutting jobs and cutting corners in Appalachia, clean energy and efficiency investments there could generate almost 80,000 jobs by 2030 and save consumers more than $25 billion in energy costs.*

"On September 27th, the day of the Appalachia Rising events in Washington, D.C., I wrote on a DailyKos livechat : 'In the meantime, it’s up to Obama’s EPA to put a halt to any further blasting in Appalachia. The biggest test of the Administration’s commitment to coalfield residents, Appalachia’s mountains – and basic environmental sanity – is whether the Administration will approve Arch Coal’s Spruce mine MTR mining permit.'

"In the face of alarmists trying to turn the EPA into this year’s version of 'death panels' -- wrongly attacking EPA for fulfilling its mission of protecting the public -- today's recommended veto of the Spruce Mine permit shows that the Obama administration is adhering to science and the rule of law and is listening to the people of Appalachia. We urge EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson to take final action to prohibit this mine. In addition, it's time for the Obama administration to fix the rules to put clear, permanent solutions in place to protect Appalachia from irresponsible mining and to accelerate America's transition from coal to clean energy."

To read the EPA recommendation, click here.

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*Marilyn Brown et al., "Energy Efficiency in Appalachia: How much more is available, at what cost, and by when?," Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC) and Southeast Energy Efficiency Alliance, May 2009.



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