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Wild Green

Former Utne Reader senior editor Keith Goetzman on environmental issues from climate change to composting.

EPA Comes Around on Mountaintop Removal

 by Keith Goetzman

Tags: Environment, energy, air and water, health, wilderness and wildlife, forests, coal mining, mountaintop removal, politics, Huffington Post, Keith Goetzman,

Mountaintop removal site

The Environmental Protection Agency has finally taken a tougher stance on mountaintop removal coal mining, announcing Thursday that it would clamp down on the industry practice of blasting apart mountains and dumping the rubble into mountain streams. It’s not clear whether last week’s colorful protest outside the EPA played a role, but it certainly couldn’t have hurt.

The announcement came as very good news to environmentalists dispirited by Obama’s support earlier in the week for massively expanded offshore oil drilling. The administration’s new automobile fuel efficiency deadline—a fleet average of 35.5 mpg by 2016—also announced Thursday added even a little more spring to the step of greens.

Writes Jeff Biggers at Huffington Post:

… the nightmare of mountaintop removal appears to be coming to the end of a long and tortuous road of regulations.

Lorelei Scarbro, a Coal River Mountain Watch community organizer and resident in West Virginia, declared: “We are so thankful that the EPA is basing their decision on science, environmental justice and the health and welfare of coalfield residents. This is a biggy. This is the beginning of the end for valley fills and mountaintop removal. We are not leaving our mountains.”

Coal River Mountain Watch co-director Judy Bonds was chosen as a 2009 Utne Visionary.

Source: Huffington Post

Image by the Sierra Club, licensed under Creative Commons.