Invoking a rarely used feature of the Clean Water Act that allows EPA to bar actions that would cause “unacceptable adverse effects” to the environment, water quality, or water supplies, the agency halted a major mountaintop removal mining project. The EPA release quotes EPA Assistant Administrator for Water Peter S. Silva: “The proposed Spruce No. 1 Mine would use destructive and unsustainable mining practices that jeopardize the health of Appalachian communities and clean water on which they depend.”
Coal Tattoo, a blog of the Charleston Gazette, reports here that “EPA officials this morning were alerting West Virginia’s congressional delegation to their action, and undoubtedly preparing for a huge backlash from the mining industry and its friends among coalfield political leaders.” Joe Manchin, the former Governor, a fervent supporter of mountaintop removal, and the new Senator from West Virginia is going to go postal, if his ad opposing cap and trade from last Fall is any indication. The other Senator, Jay Rockefeller, supports cutting off EPA’s authority to regulate greenhouse gases.
I Love Mountains, one of the leaders of the campaign to restore environmental sanity and protect public health in Appalachia, gave “Three cheers to EPA for doing what is right, even though they faced tremendous political pressure to let this harmful and toxic mine just slide by.”
I give three cheers to them as well, and all the many thousands of activists who have been fighting to save the mountains and their communities. “Pray for the dead, and fight like hell for the living.”