EPA's Attacks on Appalachian Coal Provoke Lawsuit from West Virginia Governor
West Virginia Governor Joe Manchin announced the state is suing the Environmental Protection Agency for holding up the permitting process for coal mining operations in West Virginia. Manchin said the lawsuit, which has been planned for several months, specifically challenges the court to declare EPA's actions improper and illegal. State officials have spoken with officials in Virginia and Kentucky about possibly joining in the lawsuit. The unlawful EPA permitting procedures affect permits in West Virginia, Virginia, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, and Kentucky.
"It's clear Governor Manchin, like the rest of us who are concerned about Appalachian coal jobs and the economy of our communities, has had enough of the EPA's abusive and unlawful practices," said Bryan Brown, executive director for the West Virginia FACES of Coal campaign. "This administration's EPA has consistently treated Appalachian states differently than the rest of the country when it comes to approving mining permits that affect tens of thousands of jobs."
A recent study by the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee's Minority Staff highlighted the economic effect of the EPA's ongoing moratorium on coal mining permits in Central Appalachia. According to the study, nearly 18,000 new and existing jobs and more than 80 small businesses are being jeopardized by the unlawful policy the EPA had applied to 190 permits awaiting action as of May of 2010. State officials are also upset over proposed EPA water quality standards for mining operations issued April 1; standards they say not only threaten to end surface mining in West Virginia, but will affect all mining in the Appalachian region.
"EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson's crusade against the coal industry is one of the worst kept secrets in Washington, D.C." continued Brown. "FACES of Coal stood with over 2,000 other coal supporters on Capitol Hill just a few weeks ago as Members of Congress explained how the EPA was going to continue attacking coal mining jobs and permits. FACES calls on all Appalachia Governors to stand up and say enough is enough."