Foreign Policy Blogs

EPA Stops Mountaintop Removal at Spruce Mine

(Photo by Vivian Stockman; Flyover courtesy SouthWings)

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.”



Bill Hewitt
Bill Hewitt

Bill Hewitt has been an environmental activist and professional for nearly 25 years. He was deeply involved in the battle to curtail acid rain, and was also a Sierra Club leader in New York City. He spent 11 years in public affairs for the NY State Department of Environmental Conservation, and worked on environmental issues for two NYC mayoral campaigns and a presidential campaign. He is a writer and editor and is the principal of Hewitt Communications. He has an M.S. in international affairs, has taught political science at Pace University, and has graduate and continuing education classes on climate change, sustainability, and energy and the environment at The Center for Global Affairs at NYU. His book, "A Newer World - Politics, Money, Technology, and What’s Really Being Done to Solve the Climate Crisis," will be out from the University Press of New England in December.

Areas of Focus:
the policy, politics, science and economics of environmental protection, sustainability, energy and climate change