Ohio Valley Environmental Coalition
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October 2009
Contents

Major News: EPA May Do Its Job!
DEP Biologist: Agency Chief Huffmans Testimony to Congress Was Ill Informed

Thinking About Your Legacy: An Open Letter from Dr. Ken Hechler

Reflecting on EPAs Announcement
JOBS in the Coalfields, the Right Way
Families in Mingo Co. Sue Over Flooding
Asking the Highest Court in the Land to Hear Our Case
Dear Friends at OVEC
Lindytown - Threats, Dead Horses and Shattered Dreams As the Draglines Creep Ever Closer
Lindytown - From Nice Little Mountain Town to Virtual Ghost Town
EPA Moves to Block WVs Largest MTR Mining Permit
Corps Approves Controversial Permit Despite EPAs Objections
The Trail of Tears - History Is Repeating Itself in WV
Policy Efforts on Family Cemetery Protection Issues
Join the Cemetery Protection Group And Help Find Long-Term Solutions
Awareness is Where Its At
Please Pray for Webster County
Cook Family Cemeteries: Ancestors No Longer Rest In Peace Due to Mountaintop Removal Mining
Coal Slurry: New York Times Nails Clean Water Act Crimes (Many) and Punishment (None)
Victory! Public Water Lines Finally Coming to Prenter
Goodbye Patricia, Welcome Stephanie! - New Organizer Joins SSP Effort
WVU Studying Effects of Coal Slurry Injection on Health
Working to Reduce Coal Prep Plant Air Pollution
Six Southern WV Communities to Benefit from EPA Grant
Judge Thornsbury Disqualified from Presiding in Slurry Injection Case
Coal Country - the movie: Film Debuts To Packed Crowd After Concerns Almost Cancel Showing
Help End MTR and Help Coal Country Have a Party!
OVEC: Power With!
What Happens In Valleys Is As Important As What Happens On Mountain Peaks
Plundering Appalachia - The Book, Is Here!
Chemicals and Their Dangers Force People From Kanawha Valley
Clean Elections - Saving WV From Future Scandals
Why Manchin and Co. Dont Care About Health in the Coalfields
Eating For OVEC Keeps Raising $$$
Carbon Tax: Our ACES in the Hole for Real Change
Report: Global Warming Causes 300,000 Deaths A Year, Toll to Increase
Remembering Conley Branch - May It Always Be In My Heart
United Against MTR:
Red Bandanas, Dreadlocks, Clean-Cut, Old Folks and Young
TV News Fails to Cover Mountaintop Removal Well, Or At All
Nominations for OSM Chief
University Divesting of Massey Stock, Others May Follow
Toxic Legislation: Selenium at the Legislature; OVEC Appeal to EPA


For viewing the PDF version of the newsletter

 
Winds of Change Newsletter, October 2009     See sidebar for table of contents

Corps Approves Controversial Permit Despite EPAs Objections

In early August, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers issued a Clean Water Act permit for Consol Energys Peg Fork mountaintop removal coal mine in Mingo County, WV.

This controversial decision marks the first time during the Obama administration that the Army Corps approved a mine permit to which the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency had previously objected.

"We are not willing to sacrifice our homes to the potential of flooding from a mountaintop removal coal mine," said Mingo County resident and OVEC member Wilma Steele. "The Army Corps should protect our homes from being washed away."

The permit would violate the Surface Mining Act as well as the Clean Water Act. This mining operation would be impermissible under the Surface Mining Acts buffer zone rule, which protects intermittent and perennial streams.

The Department of Interior, therefore, has the duty to use the buffer zone rule to prevent giant stream destruction projects like those at the Peg Fork mine from going forward.

"The Department of Interiors continuing failure to force the mining industry to comply with the buffer zone rule is a reminder that it is business as usual at Interior," said Joe Lovett, of the Appalachian Center for the Economy & the Environment. Lovett called for Secretary Ken Salazar to "reverse the Bush Administrations refusal to enforce the Surface Mining Act and to protect our irreplaceable streams."

Earlier this year, the EPA conducted a review of 48 applications then pending before the Army Corps for Clean Water Act permits to fill streams. At the end of its review, the EPA identified the Peg Fork mine and five other mines as projects of high concern, and instructed the Army Corps to not issue those permits.

Following the EPAs review, the Army Corps revised Consol Energys permit for this mountaintop removal mine and issued the permit on Friday, August 7.

But the revised permit still fails to satisfy the requirements for permits issued under the Clean Water Act.

The original permit application proposed mining over 800 acres of mountainous terrain and dumping mining waste into eight valley fills and over 3 miles of streams.

The revised permit that received EPA approval still allows two valley fills immediately, with the potential for up to six additional valley fills if EPA is satisfied with the results of downstream water quality monitoring from the initial fills.

Even with these alterations, the Peg Fork mine would still have unacceptable adverse impacts on local waterways and therefore violates the Clean Water Act.

"Science and the law are at odds with this permit decision," said OVEC staff member Vivian Stickman. "In my opinion, the Corps decision to issue this and other permits boils down to political pressure from coal-friendly legislators."

 

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