Army Corps Issues Permit to Blow Up Pine Creek

Written by Amanda Starbuck

Topics: Coal

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News just in from the EPA:
Today, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (Corps) issued a final Clean Water Act (CWA) permit to Coal-Mac Inc. for the Pine Creek Surface Mine project in Logan County, West Virginia.

We had been waiting to find out what would happen with the Pine Creek permit, and when the EPA signaled its support for this mine last month, we responded loudly.

West Virginia coal miner’s widow Lorelei Scarbro and leader with the Alliance for Appalachia, who has met numerous times with the EPA, wrote to Lisa Jackson to express the disappointment felt by many mountain-community members about this news.

The Pine Creek permit was issued despite a history of serious flooding in 1996 and 2004, attributed by local residents to strip mining. The floods prompted the late Senator Robert C. Byrd to request funding from the Obama Administration for flood control along Island Creek, noting that the area had been impacted by six major floods over the span of thirty years, and that the floods had resulted in “significant loss of life and property damage.”

According to the EPA: The company agreed to meet all conditions presented by the Agency.

Pine Creek is the litmus test for the EPA’s new approach to mountaintop removal mining permits in Appalachia – and we can see that they are happy to see this devastating practice continue.

Simply put, if the EPA’s “new approach” allows mountains to be destroyed and valleys to be filled, the EPA is not doing its job to protect our mountains, communities and environment.

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