ACC Comment on EPA Veto of Arch Coal’s Spruce Mine Permit
Early today (January 13th, 2011), the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) revoked Arch Coal’s Section 404 permit for the Mingo Logan Spruce Number One Surface Mine. This drastic and unprecedented action has quite rightly engendered broad bipartisan and energy industry condemnation. Never before in the history of the Clean Water Act has the EPA taken this sort of direct action against a lawfully approved 404 permit when the permittee and project have met every permit requirement.
The willingness of the EPA to revoke a valid Section 404 permit – approved after a decade-long review process, including in depth environmental impact assessments and public comment, as well as direct involvement by the EPA in the permitting process – stands as a direct threat to the well-being of an already shaky economic recovery. This action by the EPA will necessarily bring into question any future investment, hiring, or development decisions in mining, construction, road building, or other projects that rely on an approved Section 404 permit.
The American coal industry relies on a fair, consistent, and impartial permitting process to succeed and compete in world markets, and American Coal Council strongly believes that coal can be (and is) mined in an environmentally sound manner. Therefore, the American Coal Council urges this administration and the EPA to reconsider this unwarranted action, reverse their decision and work toward rebuilding the confidence and stability of American business, their employees, and the investors who fund necessary development and economic activity across this country.