Mountain Top Removal Bummer Correction

It saddens me to post a correction here — the AP stories and hundreds of news stories were overstating the victory against mountaintop removal yesterday. And they still are this morning, actually.  What really happened is the EPA took action to put on hold two valley fill permits and indicated that hundreds of other pending applications would come under much more strict review.

That’s right, “review” not “moratorium.” 

The confusion is so big the EPA put out this grumpy little press release–here’s a depressing clip for you:

EPA will take a close look at other permits that have been held back because of the 4th Circuit litigation. We fully anticipate that the bulk of these pending permit applications will not raise environmental concerns. 

You can still call the White House and leave a message thanking President Obama for taking this important first step and then ask for a real moratorium on these permits.   202-456-1111

11 Responses to “Mountain Top Removal Bummer Correction”

  1. 1 Kai Mar 25th, 2009 at 12:22 pm


  2. 2 Jesse Jenkins Mar 25th, 2009 at 2:13 pm

    “We fully anticipate that the bulk of these pending permit applications will not raise environmental concerns.” Right, because decapitating entire mountains then dumping their remains on top of verdant valleys, streams and watersheds wouldn’t raise any “environmental concerns.”

    Lisa Jackson told us EPA was back on the job at Power Shift. She’s said multiple times that science, not industry interests, will rule at EPA again. So what the F is this bull about expecting to not find anything at all concerning about blowing up hundreds of more mountains in Appalachia?!

  3. 3 andrewmunn Mar 25th, 2009 at 2:42 pm

    The Environmental Protection Agency has a long way to go for it to live up to its name.

    To me it seems that the EPA’s goal is to mitigate the damages done by our system (that’s being optimistic), not change it in any meaningful way. Sort of like if there were a Peace Agency that regulated the shape of bullets and missiles, and did not challenging their use. Lets continue pressuring the EPA to live up to its name, but if we put all of our eggs in the “EPA save us” basket, then we have sealed our defeat.

  4. 4 Morgan Mar 25th, 2009 at 2:51 pm

    Lets keep the emails, phone calls, news stories, blogs and other media going strong to point out how dissatisfied we are upon finding out that they didn’t go nearly far enough.

  5. 5 Rob Perks Mar 25th, 2009 at 4:32 pm

    Yes, not a clean sweep on all the pending permits but it does seem that the cop may be back on the beat at EPA. That’s a welcome development and a hopeful sign. My thoughts on where we stand with EPA right now:

  6. 6 Rob Perks Mar 25th, 2009 at 4:36 pm

    Also, Ken Ward, Jr. blogs on Coal Tattoo about Obama’s latest comments on MTR: “I will tell you that there’s some pretty country up there that’s been torn up pretty good.” See:

  7. 7 Wade Rose Mar 25th, 2009 at 9:06 pm

    I’m very glad my father was able to remove the mountain top I currently live on. I have a great view of all the other mountains around and the terrain has grown back very nice in the last few years. If it weren’t for mining there wouldn’t be very many places to put a house in Dickenson County VA. I would be nice if you guys actually new the law. Study AOC reclamation and you will realize what your saying is not true.

    Wade Rose

  8. 8 Appalachia Mar 26th, 2009 at 4:39 pm

    Hi Wade, I know the law pretty well. Study the Clean Water Act and SMCRA and you’ll see what you’re saying isn’t true.

    Although, you are right in that companies are often granted variances to the law which technically make their actions legal – but these loopholes put in place by a corrupt government and ambivalent enforcement agencies aren’t helping our communities, they make them less safe.

    I’m sure you have a nice home and maybe you are glad they strip mined it, and that you have nice clean water on your land — not all the stories are terrible around mining –and maybe you hope that all the mountains you are looking out on will be strip mined too.

    But please don’t assume that I want that for my home in West Virginia — or that your neighbors want their mountains strip mined just because you enjoyed the process so much. And please don’t assume that because you had a good experience, that everyone else will. In fact, for every happy story about MTR there are many more stories of people losing their heritage, homes, and clean water, and even after years of court battles not receiving compensation for their terrible losses.

  1. 1 The Understory » EPA Puts out a “Clarification” on Mountaintop Removal Permits Trackback on Mar 25th, 2009 at 1:04 pm
  2. 2 The Understory » Tell the EPA to Ban Mountaintop Removal Trackback on Mar 27th, 2009 at 9:03 pm
  3. 3 Climate Progress » Blog Archive » EPA mountaintop removal decision update Trackback on Apr 3rd, 2009 at 10:05 pm
Comments are currently closed.


Follow my crafty adventures at Follow my heart for environmental justice work at

Community Picks