Our Friends from Rainforest Action Network staged a sit-in this morning at EPA Headquarters, where activists occupied the lobby and used metal lock boxes to lock themselves together. The sit-in was to bring attention to EPA’s newly approved Pine Creek mountaintop removal permit in Logan County, West Virginia. This was a horrendous first decision,after last April it was anticipated that the EPA was going to be enforcing stricter MTR guidelines.
Photo by Chris Eichler Copyright Rainforest Action Network
Much-Lauded Strict Mountaintop Mining Guidelines Not So Strict
EPA’s First Decision Under New Mountaintop Mining Guidelines is to Approve Coal Permit; Permit Would Create Three New Valley Fills
SAN FRANCISCO– Just last week, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency gave the Army Corps of Engineers a green light for the Pine Creek mine permit, a mountaintop removal (MTR) mining site in Logan County, W.Va. This is the first permit decision the EPA has issued under the new mountaintop mining guidelines, which came out last April and were anticipated to provide tougher oversight of mountaintop removal coal mining.
The new MTR guidelines were understood to provide greater protection for headwater streams by curbing the practice of dumping waste in neighboring valleys to create what is known as valley fills. The Pine Creek permit is the first test of these guidelines, and green lights three new valley fills (each over 40 acres large). It was anticipated that these guidelines, by requiring mining operators to control levels of toxins in nearby streams, would significantly reduce the dumping of mining waste in valleys, which the EPA said was scientifically proven to contaminate drinking water and wreck ecosystems.
Charles Suggs 304 854 1937 Antrim Caskey 917 349 0422 Roger Forman 304 346 6300
ACTIVISTS APPEAL TO WV SUPREME COURT
ROCK CREEK, WV — Attorneys for four Climate Ground Zero activists and independent photojournalist Antrim Caskey are to file a Petition for Appeal to the West Virginia Supreme Court over civil disobedience activities in Raleigh County in the Circuit Court this morning.
“We are petitioning the West Virginia Supreme Court to review rulings which we consider erroneous and look forward to presenting the petition to the Supreme Court,” said attorney Roger Forman, partner at Forman and Rist, from his office in Charleston, WV.
Attorneys for the plaintiff, Alex Energy, Inc, a subsidiary of Massey Energy, will have thirty days to file a response, after which time the West Virginia State Supreme Court will then decide to hear the case or not.
Activists William Wickham, Madeline Gardner, Charles Suggs IV and Jordan Freeman are named on the appeal in conjunction with an April 16, 2009 protest on Massey Energy-owned Goals Coal Company. The activists hung a banner over a highwall at an active blast site on the Edwight mountaintop removal site just above Clays Branch. The homes of Naoma were clearly in view.
“The coal companies are blasting just above the homes of Coal River Valley residents, like the Webbs in Peachtree. It’s unbelievable what the coal companies get away with. Everyone I know down here is determined to stop them,” said photojournalist Antrim Caskey, who moved from New York City to Rock Creek to cover mountaintop removal.
From February 3, 2009, more than one hundred activists have been arrested for trespass or obstruction on Massey Energy mountaintop removal mines in dozens of actions of non violent civil disobedience.