Front Porch Blog

Bad News for a Friday: District Court Overturns Spruce Mine

A District of Columbia District Court today overturned a veto by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency of a Spruce No. 1 Mine permit, the largest mountaintop removal mining permit in West Virginia history, stating that the agency did not have authority to veto a permit already approved by the Army Corps of Engineers, which hands out 404 permits under the Clean Water Act. A first glimpse over the document indicates that the court came a hair’s breadth away from actually calling the EPA’s actions unlawful, but we’ll read closer and get back with you.

The EPA first vetoed the massive permit in January of 2011. At the time, EPA’s Peter Silva said of the agency’s reasoning to veto the permit:

The proposed Spruce No. 1 Mine would use destructive and unsustainable mining practices that jeopardize the health of Appalachian communities and clean water on which they depend. Coal and coal mining are part of our nation’s energy future, and EPA has worked with companies to design mining operations that adequately protect our nation’s water. We have responsibility under the law to protect water quality and safeguard the people who rely on clean water.

Read the full memorandum here.





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