January 15, 2011

Spruce Number 1 Coal Mine News is GREAT for the Real Spruces

Another good week for Mother Earth, especially in Appalachia!

Another 110 million cubic yards of coal-mine waste will NOT get dumped directly into West Virginia streams, thanks to the EPA. This week's announcement from that agency nixed the permit for the mountaintop removal coal mine that was proposed in an area better known for scenic vistas than contaminated streams. Somebody knows how to read the Clean Water Act.

In Virginia the EPA is currently reviewing another mountaintop mining permit for Ison Rock Ridge in Wise County, and if the law is applied fairly, this permit should be denied as well.

Shenandoah National Park will celebrate its 75th Anniversary in 2011. I hope that the new Congress will give Virginians a pledge to preserve its nearby waters and vistas. I'd like my grandchildren to enjoy this park as much as I have through the past half century.

The coal companies have already removed a bunch of mountaintops in Appalachian states. They claim that they've "reclaimed" these areas and replanted them with lots of trees that will eventually replace the forests that they took out. But a Natural Resources Defense Council study shows that only a small fraction of these areas have been restored. What's really happening after mountaintop removal is "wrecklamation."

Check out "No More Mountaintop Removal" at http://www.nrdc.org/energy/coal/mtr/ and the "I Love Mountains" folks at http://www.ilovemountains.org/ Those are lots of  happy faces in these two organizations this week.

Click here if you want more info from the EPA's website about these permits and the latest EPA veto.