Michael Oko, NRDC, 202-513-6245 or cell: 202-904-5245
WASHINGTON (September 11, 2009) -- In a step toward protecting America’s waterways from mining waste, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced today that it will continue to review the permits of 79 proposed surface coal-mining projects in Appalachian states. The EPA stated that it will work with the Army Corps of Engineers to ensure compliance with the Clean Water Act and the protection of the nation’s public health and environment.
Following is a statement by Rob Perks, Campaign Director for the Natural Resources Defense Council:
“The EPA is taking welcome steps to protect Appalachia from the hazardous impacts of mountaintop removal mining, one of coal industry's most dirty and destructive activities. The EPA should not permit mining operations based on regulatory loopholes and lax enforcement practices that have allowed streams in the Southeast to be treated as waste dumps.
“The people in Appalachia deserve to have clean streams, rivers, and waterways -- and it’s up to the EPA to look out for their interests. We expect the EPA and the Corps to follow-up with the necessary actions to halt the practice of mountain removal mining and protect America’s waterways."