This just in (courtesy of Ken Ward's Coal Tattoo blog): The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, which under the Bush administration simply rubber stamped mining permits, yesterday suspended its controversial approval of A&G Coal Corp.'s Ison Rock Ridge Surface Mine in Wise County, Va.
Considering that it was only last week that Sierra Club and the group Southern Appalachian Mountain Stewards filed suit to block the permit, this is shockingly good news. Here is the Corps letter to A&G Coal Company.
As Ken Ward notes:
Coal Tattoo readers may recall that EPA already asked the Corps of Engineers to revoke this permit, which was issued under the Clean Water Act's Nationwide Permit 21 -- which in West Virginia was thrown out by U.S. District Judge Joseph R. Goodwin - and instead process the permit application under the Clean Water Act's Individual Permit, or IP, process.
The Corps permit suspension letter cites the company's failure to obtain a SMCRA permit and the "significant lapse of time since the" NWP 21 authorization was issued. Further, the Corps said the permit suspension gives Corps officials "an opportunity to fully evaluate concerns" raised by EPA.
This latest action is yet another positive milestone in the Obama adminstration's move away from the rogue mining revered by the old regime. How fitting then, too, that last night on "The Daily Show" Jon Stewart interviewed Interior Secretary Ken Salazar and applauded him for protecting America's streams from mountaintop removal.