Hearing set for Spruce Mine permit

May 24, 2012

On June 1, 2012, the U.S. House Subcommittee on Energy and Minerals will conduct a hearing regarding the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) decision to revoke a Clean Water Act wetlands permit granted to the Spruce No. 1 coal mine.

For the first time in its 40-year history, the EPA revoked a permit previously issued for a mine when it revoked a Clean Water Act Section 404 permit for Arch Coal’s Spruce No. 1 mine in Logan County, WV. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers originally issued the permit to Arch Coal on Jan. 22, 2007.

“In January 2011, the Obama Administration's Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) took the unprecedented step of retroactively revoking a coal mining permit after it had already been issued and approved following a 10 year environmental review process,” the subcommittee noted in a news release.

“While the Obama Administration wants to stop future American coal production, they do not have the ability to go back in time and change valid, lawfully issued coal mining permits,” said Subcommittee on Energy and Mineral Resources Chairman Doug Lamborn, (R-CO). “This Administration’s willingness to bend and sometimes break the rules to achieve their desired outcome is troubling and should deeply concern everyone from the millions of American who rely on affordable coal energy to the tens of thousands of hard working American coal miners and their families.”

The EPA based its decision on findings related to major environmental, water quality and wildlife concerns. EPA said it was concerned the mine would expose Appalachian communities to additional mining-related sources of pollution “in a watershed already highly impacted by mining activity.”

The witnesses invited to the oversight hearing on “Obama Administration's Actions Against the Spruce Coal Mine: Canceled Permit, Lawsuits and Lost Jobs,” including the commanding general and chief of engineers for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, EPA Administrator Lisa P. Jackson, and Office of Surface Mining Reclamation Director Joseph Pizarchik.


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