Washington, DC – U.S. Senator Benjamin L. Cardin (D-MD), chairman of the Senate Environment and Public Works Water and Wildlife Subcommittee released the following statement after the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency today announced its proposal under the Clean Water Act to significantly restrict or prohibit mountain top mining at the Spruce No. 1 surface mine in Logan County, WV. According to the EPA, “Spruce No.1 mine is one of the largest mountaintop removal operations ever proposed in Central Appalachia. The project was permitted in 2007 and subsequently delayed by litigation. The Spruce No. 1 mine would bury over 7 miles of headwater streams, directly impact 2,278 acres of forestland and degrade water quality in streams adjacent to the mine.”
“I am encouraged by EPA’s announcement today that it will act to protect the residents, water and wildlife of Central Appalachia from the irreversible damage this proposed mountaintop removal mining operation would create,” said Senator Cardin. “Every day, new science makes it clearer that the mining pollution from these operations poisons streams -- and the people and wildlife that depend on them -- in a way that can never be reversed. It is for this reason that I have introduced and will continue to fight for legislation that would ban the practice of blowing the tops off mountains and dumping the waste in our waters.”
Senator Cardin and Senator Lamar Alexander (R-TN) have sponsored S. 696, The Appalachian Restoration Act that would outlaw mountaintop coal mining. In 2009, Senator Cardin chaired the first Environment and Public Works Committee hearing in seven years examining the practice of mountaintop removal operations and its impact on the local communities and environment.