Federal Judge Amy Berman Jackson has ruled that the EPA exceeded its authority in revoking permits for what could now become West Virginia’s largest mountaintop removal (MTR) mine.
Back in January 2011, the EPA vetoed Arch Coal’s permit to mine at the Spruce site, as it would cause irreparable damage to the environment, including the destruction of 2,278 acres of temperate rainforest and the burying of 7.5 miles of streams in the Spruce Fork sub-watershed. RAN’s own 2010 report details how, in a region already devastated by surface mining, this MTR mine would severely worsen existing problems of water quality and wildlife and forest loss.
The Environmental Protection Agency exists to do exactly that: protect our environment. The agency’s decision on the Spruce permit was not taken lightly, and involved a thorough stakeholder consultation. This ruling is a tragic example of how powerful corporations can use money and influence to bypass protections that are ‘inconvenient’ to their profit-making, regardless of the consequences on our ecosystems and public health.