September 11, 2009

CARDIN APPLAUDS EPA EXTENDED REVIEW OF MOUNTAINTOP COAL MINING PERMITS

Washington, DC - U .S. Senator Benjamin L. Cardin (D-MD), chairman of the Senate Environment and Public Works Water and Wildlife Subcommittee released the following statement after the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced today that it has identified 79 proposed surface coal-mining projects in Appalachian states for further, detailed reviews of their pending permits.   The extended reviews will be carried out under an enhanced coordination process between EPA and the Army Corps of Engineers developed under a June 11, 2009 interagency Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) on surface coal mining facilitated by the Council on Environmental Quality and signed by the EPA, the Corps, and the Department of Interior. The Corps and EPA will work together during this review process to ensure compliance with the Clean Water Act and the protection of this nation's public health and environment.

 

"The science shows that the impacts of mountaintop coal mining and the associated valley fill on the quality and safety of our water are extensive and long-lasting. There are more environmentally and economically sustainable paths Appalachia can take without destroying the potential for economic gains in tourism and outdoor recreation activities that are only viable when Appalachia's unique natural features are protected," said Senator Benjamin L. Cardin.  "The Obama Administration is to be congratulated for continuing to address this serious issue and for applying the best science to its decision making.  But I believe the general practice of mountaintop removal mining and the associated valley fills continues to be a major problem and must end."

 

Senator Cardin and Senator Lamar Alexander (R-TN) have sponsored S. 696, The Appalachian Restoration Act that would outlaw mountaintop coal mining.  In June, Senator Cardin chaired the first Environment and Public Works Committee hearing in seven years examining the practice of mountaintop removal operations and its impact on the local communities and environment.