WASHINGTON (AFP) – The Environmental Protection Agency has proposed an unprecedented veto to restrict or prohibit mining at a major proposed US mountaintop removal coal mining site.
If the veto is finalized, it would invalidate a permit first issued in 2007 for the Army Corps of Engineers at the Spruce No. 1 surface mine in southern West Virginia.
In explaining its decision, the EPA said Friday the Arch Coal Inc. mine would pollute surrounding water, fill over seven miles (11 kilometers) of stream, would cause “unacceptable” harm to wildlife and “directly impact” some 2,278 acres (922 hectares) of forest.
A rare step in three decades of mountaintop mining in West Virginia, Kentucky and Virginia, the decision was the first time the EPA has proposed to veto a mine that already had received a permit.
It was the 12th time the agency has used its veto power for any project since the 1972 Clean Water Act became law.
“Landscape and site-specific assessments reveal that past and current mountaintop mining has caused substantial, irreplaceable loss of resources and an irreversible effect on these resources within the Coal River basin,” the EPA said in a statement.
In its summary of its proposal on the Spruce No. 1 mine, the agency said that “applying the lessons of the past, we now know that failure to control mining practices has resulted in persistent environmental degradation in the form of acid mine drainage and other impacts that cost billions to remedy.”
Environmentalists say mountaintop mining, which consists in removing entire coal seams are removed from the tops of mountains, pollutes streams and valleys, dumps toxic mining byproducts and disfigures the landscape.
Arch Coal condemned the EPA’s action and vowed to “vigorously defend the Spruce permit by all legal means.”
Its stock prices closed 20 cents lower at 22.69 dollars on Friday.
Environmental groups, meanwhile, hailed the EPA’s move.
“The best available science tells us that proposed mines like the massive Spruce Mine would pollute waterways, destroy mountains and devastate communities,” the Sierra Club’s director of environmental quality Ed Hopkins said in a statement.
According to Business Week, mountaintop mining accounts for six percent of US coal production. Coal supplies about 50 percent of US electricity needs.
WATCH: Arizona man throws tantrum about masks — and his son has to pick him up and carry him out of the store
Video posted online purports to show a man being carried out of a store in Tucson, Arizona after a loud rant against wearing masks.
"People won't learn, these people won't learn," a man in a blue shirt, shorts and sunglasses is heard saying, to nobody in particular.
"You're a bunch of idiots wearing masks, you know it's not real," he shouted.
"Look at you fools, you got a f*cking doily on your face. You ret*rd, you look like you f*cking got it off your mom's countertop," he continued.
At thq5 point, a much larger man with a mask over his beard approached the anti-mask activist.
Trump campaign dispatches Pence to shore up Mormon support — after harsh criticism from Mitt Romney and Jeff Flake: report
The president's 2020 election campaign continues to play defense in Arizona, a once reliably-Republican state.
"President Donald Trump's reelection campaign is looking to shore up support among a specific population of Arizonans: members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints," the Arizona Republica reported Monday. "Vice President Mike Pence is coming to Mesa Tuesday to help launch a 'Latter-day Saints for Trump' coalition in what appears to be a late-in-the-game play to win over LDS voters, who tend to vote Republican but hold values that clash with some of the president's."
Here’s how Trump created a ‘significant threat’ to his re-election by failing on coronavirus stimulus
Politico on Monday reported on how Donald Trump may have imperiled his 2020 presidential campaign by failing to reach a deal with Congress on the next round of stimulus.
"After a spring and summer bolstered by cash infusions from the federal government of more than $3 trillion, the U.S. economy may have to sink or swim this fall with a relative trickle of support — presenting a significant threat to President Donald Trump’s standing as he heads into a compressed reelection campaign already trailing in the polls," Politico's Ben White reported.