EPA blocks permit for giant mountaintop removal mine

In a letter issued last week, the Environmental Protection Agency “moved toward revoking the largest mountaintop-removal permit in West Virginia history.” Citing “clear evidence” of likely damage, the EPA has asked the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to “suspend, revoke or modify” the permit it granted in 2007 to Arch Coal to dig a 2,278-acre coal stripmine and fill six valleys and 43,000 linear feet of streams with the toxic debris:

The EPA asked the Army Corps to “suspend, revoke or modify the permit,” for the Spruce No. 1 Surface Mine in Logan County, according to the letter. “Recent data and analyses have revealed that downstream water quality impacts have not been adequately addressed.”

Obama’s EPA has granted most of the mountaintop removal permits it has reviewed. “It’s not the death of mountaintop coal mining,” said Mary Anne Hitt, deputy director of the Sierra Club’s campaign to limit the use of coal, told Bloomberg News. “But it’s clear that it’s not just going to be blanket approval of anything the Corps wants to do, which was essentially the case under the Bush administration.”

This is a Wonk Room repost.