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Posted Tue Mar 31 2009: from The Washington Independent:
Tensions High as EPA Reasserts Mining Authority
For environmentalists in the Appalachians, it was a roller-coaster week. Just one day after the Environmental Protection Agency announced plans to reassert its powers to protect mountain streams from the ravages of mountaintop coal mining, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers approved the broad expansion of such a project without EPA input... The recent saga began last Monday, when the EPA sent letters to the Army Corps of Engineers in Huntington, W.Va., recommending that the Corps either deny or alter proposed projects in West Virginia and Kentucky because agency studies show that the two mountaintop mines would have serious water-quality consequences. A day later, the EPA vowed to review hundreds more backlogged permit requests to assess their effect on streams... On Wednesday, however, the Corps’ Louisville district approved a 1.5-square-mile expansion of a mountaintop mine in Southeast Kentucky with no input from the EPA.
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