Two coal mines move closer to opening
The US Environmental Protection Agency has announced a path forward on two coal mining operations in West Virginia.
The EPA told the US Army Corps of Engineers yesterday (January 5) that it supports issuing a Clean Water Act permit for the Hobet 45 mine in Lincoln County, operated by Hobet Mining.
It made this decision after ‘extensive discussions’ between itself and the company, which resulted in additional significant protections against environmental impacts.
In a second action, the Federal District Court in Southern West Virginia will extend the court-established deadline to respond to the company’s earlier request to end the litigation on the proposed Spruce No1 mine in Logan County.
The EPA and the mining operator, Mingo Logan Mining Company, a subsidiary of Arch Coal, agreed to ask for the extension in order to continue discussions to determine if a revised mining plan can be developed that will comply with the Clean Water Act.
After close study, EPA determined that the proposed mine raised significant environmental and water quality concerns.
“These are important examples of EPA’s work to bring clarity to this process.
Our role, along with the Army Corps of Engineers, is to ensure that mining companies avoid environmental degradation and protect water quality so that Appalachian communities don’t have to choose between jobs and their health,” said EPA administrator Lisa Jackson.
“Working closely with mining companies, our federal and state partners, and the public, our goal is to ensure Americans living in coal country are protected from environmental, health and economic damage.”