U.S. Revokes Permit For Biggest Mountaintop Removal Project

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has revoked a permit for a large mountaintop removal mining project in West Virginia, saying it would use “destructive and unsustainable mining practices” that would threaten the health and water supplies of the surrounding Appalachian communities. While the EPA said mining projects elsewhere in the state could continue, agency officials rescinded a permit under the Clean Water Act for Arch Coal’s proposed 2,300-acre Spruce Mine operation in Logan County, a controversial project that would dump mining debris into more than 7 miles of rivers. The decision could affect dozens of other mountaintop removal mining projects, in which companies blast off the tops of mountains to get at the coal seams below. Across Appalachia, the practice has buried more than 2,000 miles of streams and damaged more than a million acres of forest. Peter Silva, EPA’s assistant administrator for water, said, “We have a responsibility to protect water quality and safeguard the people who rely on clean water.”
Watch an e360 video on mountaintop mining