EPA'S New "Guidance" on Coal Mine Permitting Reveals a Different Kind of Transparency


As seen in the April 30th issue of The State Journal.

About a year ago, I wrote in these pages that efforts by the federal Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to restrict coal mining in West Virginia have very little to do with trying to enforce compliance with existing laws. (Opposition to Coal Mining in W.Va.: It's Not About the Law, The State Journal, June 12, 2009.) EPA's latest move -- issuance on April 1, 2010 of a 31-page "Guidance" document on "Improving EPA Review of Appalachian Surface Coal Mining Operations under the Clean Water Act, National Environmental Policy Act and the Environmental Justice Executive Order" -- should be enough to remove any doubt about that. This and other EPA actions over the last several months have continued to evince a disdain on the part of that agency for the 'niceties' of sound regulatory law.

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