According to the Charleston Gazette's Coal Tattoo blog, the EPA has cleared all but 6 mountain top removal mining permits that it had been reviewing.
Cindy Rank of the WV Highlands Conservancy commented:
"I know that Highlands Conservancy and OVEC, Coal River, the Appalachian Center had commented on dozens and dozens of these; I’d lost count after 65," Rank said. "And I know that those 65 really did deserve much more consideration than was already given to them.
"So if EPA is not commenting any further or bringing more scientific evaluation to bear on those permits, then I think that’s a mistake and the only thing I can assume is that politics is trumping science yet once again."
A sad day for the southern Appalachian region. An unbelievable decision considering the Obama administration spent only a few hours looking at a single MTR site. Much like Bush’s attitude toward the Constitution, apparently the Clean Water Act is just a goddamned piece of paper. Pathetic.
And the war on Appalachia continues.
Updated: The EPA has responded to Congressman Nick Rahall:
"EPA decided not to provide additional comments on the remaining 42 permits after consideration of the nature and extent of project impacts. 28 of the projects have two or fewer valley fills. Eleven have no valley fills at all. None have more than six. EPA’s understanding is that none of the projects would permanently impact high value streams that flow year round. By contrast, EPA has opposed six permits because they all would result in significant adverse impacts to high value streams, involve large numbers of valley fills, and impact watersheds with extensive previous mining impacts."
Jeff Biggers The Huffington Post writes: