More Trouble for Appalachia…
Speaking of regional protectionism, Rep. Nick Rahall (D. – W. Va.) held a press conference today to unveil the news that the Environmental Protection Agency, after reviewing applications for 48 new coal mining operations in Appalachia, intends to allow 42 to proceed. While its unclear how many of those 42 are mountaintop mines — operations in which the tops of mountains are blasted away to reach the coal within, while the debris is pushed into adjacent stream valleys — its safe to say that most of them probably fit that category.
In the eyes of Rahall, the EPA’s announcement is great news:
It is unfortunate that when EPA once again began reviewing proposed coal mining permits earlier this year alarmists claimed that a moratorium on permit issuance was being proposed. That was not the case then, and it is not the case now.
For its part, the coal industry cannot comply with a moving target. Having regulatory stability is vitally important to the industry, its workers, and those of us who reside in the coalfields of southern West Virginia. It is also equally important to environmental protection.
In the eyes of environmentalists, the announcement means something else entirely. Indeed, the Sierra Club just shot out a statement warning that approving those 42 permits “could mean certain destruction of hundreds of miles of Appalachian streams and hundreds of acres of America’s oldest mountains.”