Thursday, July 15, 2010
Could fate of W.Va. surface mine permit signal the future of mountaintop-removal coal mining?
"Spruce 1 is a test of whether the EPA is going to follow through with its promises," Bill Price, West Virginia ndirector of environmental justice for the Sierra Club, told Eckholm. "If the administration sticks to its guns, mountaintop removal is going to be severely curtailed." Coal-company officials counter than politics, not science, is leading the administration's policy. "After years of study, with the company doing everything any agency asked, and three years after a permit was issued, the EPA now wants to stop Spruce 1," Bill Raney, president of the West Virginia Coal Association, told Eckholm. "It’s political; the only thing that has changed is the administration."
If Spruce 1's permit is pulled or scaled back, the industry and locals who support mountaintop removal mining worry what that might mean for the region's economy. "Spruce 1 is extremely important to all of southern West Virginia because if this permit is pulled back, every mine site is going to be vulnerable to having its permits pulled," James Milan, manager of Walker Machinery in Logan, which sells gargantuan Caterpillar equipment that is used in mountaintop mining, told Eckholm. (Read more)