WV Coal Member Meeting 2024 1240x200 1 1


EPA action is reckless and arbitrary, shows disregard of impact on people and the economy
CHARLESTON – The West Virginia Coal Association supports today’s decision by Mingo Logan Coal Company to file suit against the federal Environmental Protection Agency over its announcement of intent to revoke the permit for the company’s Spruce #1 surface mine in Logan County.
“This decision by EPA is reckless and arbitrary,” said West Virginia Coal Association President Bill Raney. “It establishes a very dangerous precedent in that it reneges on an already approved permit, something that has never been done previously. In doing so it brings into question the reliability of the entire permitting process and shows an arrogant disregard for the impacts this will have on the state’s economy and its people. We fully support Mingo Logan’s actions to compel EPA to respect the law and follow its own regulations.”
 The Spruce Mine permit was issued by the Corps three years ago following 10 years of work by WV DEP, the Corps, EPA and Mingo Logan Coal Co.
 In the course of the permit’s 10-year review, EPA had ample opportunity to review and comment on the mine’s design.  EPA also had the chance to use its veto authority at the time the permit was issued instead of waiting until coal miners were hired and working and substantial investment undertaken to begin coal production. Since the time the permit was issued the only thing that has changed is the political leadership at EPA.      
  The original mine design and production levels were significantly reduced to address the concerns of EPA and other agencies --- for example, the final permitted acreage was reduced by 27 percent and fill placement was reduced by 57 percent.  Total recoverable coal production was reduced by 10.6 million tons as a result of these changes.  In light of these substantial changes, which were undertaken to address the concerns of EPA and other agencies, we wonder if EPA can ever be satisfied enough to allow a mining permit to be activated.
At full production, the mine would have employed 235 miners and created about 300 indirect and induced additional jobs. The jobs would have been high-paying, long-term employment opportunities.
 “This decision casts doubt over the validity of any permit obtained anywhere in West Virginia for any industry not only the coal mining industry,” Raney said. “For these reasons we fully support Mingo Logan’s decision to pursue remedy through legal action. We believe the courts will agree that EPA’s decision was discriminatory and reckless.
“This decision is especially troubling because it comes at a time when the nation is trying to put itself back together, and when West Virginia is trying to lead the way and keep our people and our miners working.”