I looked around briefly and I didn’t see much attention being paid to this in the blogosphere:
In a decision that could have a major impact on both the mining industry and the Obama Administration’s relationship with conservatives, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced today that it was vetoing the largest single mountaintop mining removal permit in West Virginia history. In using its authority under the Clean Water Act to block approval of the proposed 2,300-acre Spruce No. 1 Mine in Logan County, West Virginia, the EPA will earn praise from greens—including some from the Appalachians—who have long fought mountaintop mining as a destructive practice that ruins the environment and the health of those who live near the mines. But the agency will undoubtedly face a backlash from the mining industry and the West Virginia politicians—both Republican and Democrat—who defend it, at a time when the EPA is already on a collision course with business and conservatives over proposed greenhouse gas regulations.
Is it really that hard to give the Obama administration credit when they take courageous decisions?
West Virginia’s two Democratic Senators, Jay Rockefeller and Joe Manchin, vented their own frustrations today in D.C.; Rockefeller fired off a letter expressing “outrage” to President Obama and Manchin pledged in a statement “to do everything in my power to fight this decision.”
Keep in mind what Sens. Rockefeller and Manchin are supporting.
According to the EPA the Spruce Mine would:
Deposit 110 million cubic years of coal mine waste into streams
Fully bury more than six miles of high-quality streams in Logan County in millions of tons of mining waste resulting from the dynamiting of more than 2,200 acres of mountains and forests
Eliminate all fish, salamanders and other wildlife that live in those streams
Pollute waters downstream from those buried streams, leading to unhealthy levels of salinity and toxic levels of selenium, turning fresh water into salt water.
Cause downstream watershed degradation that will kill wildlife and increase susceptibility to toxic algal blooms.
Rockefeller and Manchin are expressing outrage that these horrible things are not going to be done to their beautiful state. How fucking twisted is that?
Congress is probably going to pass a law stripping the EPA of its regulatory authority because they don’t like it actually enforcing the Clean Water Act. That’s right…our government really is filled with complete assholes. Hopefully they won’t be able to override the president’s veto.