The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) used the Clean Water Act to prevent the mine from using streams in the area to dispose of mining waste.

This will halt the construction of the mine which was originally granted a permit in 2007.

This follows a review and public hearing of the operations of Spruce No. 1 which concluded with the EPA finding the proposed operations “unacceptable”.

There have only been 12 instances since 1972 where the act has been used in this way.

The EPA says they are making this decision to protect water quality, wildlife and surrounding communities who rely on clean waters for drinking fishing and swimming.

EPA Assistant Administrator for Water, Peter S Silva, said: “The proposed Spruce No. 1 Mine would use destructive and unsuitable mining practices that jeopardise the health of Appalachian communities and clean water on which they depend.

“We have a responsibility under the law to protect water quality and safegurard the people who rely on clean water.”

The proposed mine would have disposed of 110 cubic yards of coal mine waste into streams and would have destroyed 2,000 acres of mountain tops.

The EPA says that six miles of high-quality streams in West Virginia would have been buried, endangering fish and other wildlife. The resulting pollution would compromise water quality and cause damage to ecosystems.

Alison Brown

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