The EPA signed off on a Clean Water Act permit releasing Patriot
Coal’s Hobet 45 mountaintop removal mine operation permit, one of 79 withheld for further review due to environmental concerns, to the Army Corps of Engineers for approval.
The addition to the Hobet complex, which already spans tens of
thousands of acres of contiguous mining will obliterate three more
miles of already impaired streams by simply “mining through” them.
These headwaters are within the watershed of the Mud River system,
which is already on the brink of a major toxic event due to Selenium
discharges at other parts of the Hobet complex. The original plans would have buried six miles of streams.
According to the EPA, Patriot Coal will still be able to mine 91 percent of the coal they were originally planning to produce, even
without any new valley fills.
Mountaintop removal has shown to be a disaster for the communities, economy, and ecology of Appalachia. Mountaintop removal has buried and
polluted nearly 2,000 miles of headwaters streams in Appalachia and contaminated them with toxic heavy metals and chemicals.
“We, the affected citizens that are living with the impacts of this destructive mining practice, pray that this decision is not a preview of other destructive mining permits being approved,” said Judy Bonds with Coal River Mountain Watch. “We certainly hope this is the last destructive permit approved that will allow the coal industry to continue to blast our homes and pollute our streams.”