Archives for posts with tag: mountaintop removal

From The Charleston Gazette:

Despite strong pressure from the coal industry and its political allies, the Obama administration on Thursday finalized new guidance aimed at reducing the environmental and public health impacts of mountaintop removal mining in Appalachia.

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Lisa Jackson has said that “no or very few valley fills” would be approved under new guidance that EPA regional offices will now impose on state regulators for permits under the federal Clean Water Act.

EPA officials said the guidelines — being challenged in court and under fire from Congress — are needed because of a growing body of science that details devastating water quality impacts downstream of large-scale surface mines.

“The science holds up the actions they are taking 100 percent,” said Margaret Palmer, a University of Maryland biologist who has been studying mountaintop removal’s effects on streams and aquatic life. “It is blatant that the biodiversity is just decimated when you have these valley fills above streams.”

The new EPA guidance calls for tougher permit reviews, including more detailed studies of whether mining impacts can be avoided or reduced, new testing of potential toxic impacts of mining discharges, and tough limits on the increases in electrical conductivity, a crucial measure of water quality.

EPA said in a statement that the guidance would not block all mining permits, and cited three examples over the last two years when agency officials worked out acceptable deals with coal operators to approve new mining projects.

“Under this guidance, EPA will continue to work with other federal agencies, state, local communities, and companies to design mining operations that adequately protect our nation’s waters and people’s health,” said Nancy Stoner, EPA’s acting assistant administrator for water. “We have a responsibility under the law to protect water quality and this guidance allows EPA to work with companies to meet that goal, based on the best science.”

In the 61-page guidance memo, EPA said that since 1992, more than 1,200 miles of Appalachian streams have been filled by Appalachian coal mining operations. EPA cited an ongoing rate of about 120 miles of streams per year being impacted.

“Further, while precise estimates are limited, the estimated scale of deforestation from existing Appalachian surface mining operations is greater in size than the state of Delaware, or 5,700 square kilometers, predicted to be affected by 2012,” the EPA guidance memo said. “The full cumulative effects of surface coal mining operations at this scope and scale are still largely unknown.”

More.

Advertisements

From Charleston Gazette:

Federal environmental regulators are looking closely at a new scientific study that found Appalachian residents who live near mountaintop removal mine sites face an increased risk of birth defects.

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency officials met last week with one of the study’s authors, and EPA is concerned about growing evidence about mountaintop removal’s potential adverse effects on public health in the coalfields.

Nancy Stoner, acting assistant EPA administrator for water, testified to a congressional committee last week about her agency’s concerns regarding the findings of a series of West Virginia University studies.

“In 2010, an independent, peer-reviewed study by two university professors found that communities near degraded streams have higher rate of respiratory, digestive, urinary and breast cancer,” Stoner told a subcommittee of the House Committee on Government and Regulatory Reform.

“That study was not conducted in a far-off country,” Stoner said. “It was conducted in Appalachian communities — only a few hundred miles from where we sit today.”

In her testimony, Stoner noted the birth defects study and another WVU scientific paper that found Appalachian citizens who live near mountaintop removal “experience significantly more unhealthy days each year than the average American.”

More.

 

From VBS TV:

Meredith Danluck is a New York artist, director, and all-around amazing person who has a killer collection of power tools. VBS bumped into her a few months ago and discovered that she has been working on a film in West Virginia, a sort of impressionistic account of the current environmental catastrophe in the Appalachian Mountains. Mining companies are destroying entire mountains in order to get at the coal inside them. Quickly and efficiently, the oldest mountain range in the world is being systematically obliterated. We sent Meredith and VBS correspondent Derrick Beckles to the hills and hollers of West Virginia to show us what the end of the world looks like.

From Documentary Website:

ON COAL RIVER takes viewers on a gripping emotional journey into the Coal River Valley of West Virginia — a community surrounded by lush mountains and a looming toxic threat. The film follows a former coal miner and his neighbors in a David-and-Goliath struggle for the future of their valley, their children, and life as they know it.

Ed Wiley is a former coal miner who once worked at a toxic waste facility that now threatens his granddaughter’s elementary school.  When his local government refuses to act, Ed embarks on a quest to have the school relocated to safer ground.  With insider knowledge and a sharp sense of right and wrong, Ed confronts his local school board, state government, and a notorious coal company — Massey Energy — for putting his granddaughter and his community at risk.

From greenpeaceusa:

From the mountains of Kentucky, to the innercity neighborhoods of Chicago, the entire life cycle of coal is filthy – from disastrous mining practices like mountaintop removal, to toxic emissions. What is the true cost of coal on our planet, and on the lives and health of ordinary Americans? Hear firsthand stories from local activists Nina and Mickey McCoy (Inez, KY), and Leila Mendez (Chicago).

%d bloggers like this: