EPA Yanks Permit for Vast Mountaintop Mine
It uses Clean Water Act to kill West Virginia plan
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 13, 2011 12:59 PM CST
In this 2008 file photo, a mountaintop removal mining site is seen at Kayford Mountain, W.Va.   (AP Photo/Jeff Gentner, File)

(Newser) – Environmentalists won a big victory today in the debate over mountaintop mining: The EPA took the rare step of revoking a permit for a massive site in West Virginia, ruling that it would foul the water for residents in that region of Appalachia, reports the Charleston Gazette. Mountaintop mining involves blasting the top off mountains to get at the coal underneath, but the resulting rubble wreaks havoc on the streams and valleys below. The Obama administration has been taking a critical look at the practice.

Arch Coal got permission from the Bush administration in 2007 to go ahead with its Spruce Mine No. 1, but the project's been hung up in court challenges ever since. It vows to appeal, notes the Wall Street Journal: "We remain shocked and dismayed at EPA’s continued onslaught with respect to this validly issued permit,” says a company spokeswoman, who warns that it means the loss of 250 future jobs. Expect a big pushpack from the state's lawmakers as well.