March 24, 2009
Contact: Oliver Bernstein, 512-477-2152
Obama Administration Intervenes to Review Mountaintop Removal Coal Mining Permits
Sierra Club Applauds Bold Action to Protect Streams, Communities
Washington, D.C. The Environmental Protection Agency today announced that it will review the issuance of new permits for mountaintop removal coal mines.
The announcement comes just over one month after a controversial Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals decision that paved the way for more than 100 additional mountaintop removal mining permits. That decision left the permitting of mountaintop removal mines up to the Army Corps, but today’s action will protect Appalachian communities and hundreds of miles of streams.
In response to today’s announcement, Sierra Club Executive Director, Carl Pope issued the following statement:
"We applaud EPA Administrator Jackson for her timely decision to intervene and review the most destructive form of coal mining. With the bulldozers and dynamite standing by, the Obama administration has taken decisive action to protect the streams, mountains and communities of Appalachia.
“Already close to 2,000 miles of streams have been contaminated or destroyed by mountaintop removal coal mining, and communities throughout the Appalachian region suffer daily from contaminated drinking water, increased flooding, and a decimated landscape. Today’s announcement sends a clear signal that it is time to move beyond coal and toward clean energy solutions that will create good, green jobs here in America.
"Reviewing the permits will stop the bleeding, and now EPA should begin to fix the Bush-era regulatory loopholes that made mountaintop removal possible. We applaud Administrator Jackson’s and President Obama’s continued commitment to science and environmental justice. We thank the community activists who have fought long and hard to protect their mountains and to ensure a sustainable future for Appalachia.”