January 15, 2011
Our government seems to know no bounds these days. In a stunning, but not surprising power-grab, and show of boldness, the EPA, specifically Chair Nancy Sutley of the Council on Environmental Quality, revoked the coal mining permit for Arch Coal’s Spruce Mine No. 1 in Logan County, West Virginia. The action happened on January 13 after 9 months of threats from the EPA that the mine would cause irreparable harm to the environment. Area businesses sent this letter to Ms. Sutley expressing opposition. Of keynote is the following observation:
If EPA is allowed to revoke this permit, every similarly valid Section 404 permit held by any entity — businesses, public works agencies and individual citizens — will be in increased regulatory limbo and potentially subject to the same unilateral, after-the-fact revocation. The implications could be staggering, reaching all areas of the U.S. economy including but not limited to the agriculture, home building, mining, transportation and energy sectors.
Arch Coal, which contributes 16% of America’s coal supply, had the project in the works for over a decade and received its permit in 2007 during the Bush administration. This mine, a“mountain top removal mine” when fully operational would have employed 235 miners and 300 indirect jobs in support services. Arch Coal has already set aside $250 million for this project, which now, under EPA orders, will have to be shut down.
The EPA cited its authority under the Clean Water Act, an action taken place only twice in the last 40 years and never before to a coal mine. This action predictably will send chills up the spines of business and industry who will assuredly be fearful of undertaking projects and investing money in those projects, especially now that we see an almost unprecedented revocation after a permit has been issued by the proper agency. Local reaction, including concerns by Senator Manchin can be see on this video here. Sorry, no embed code.
West Virginia is one of the largest coal producers in the country:
- $26 billion pumped into the West Virginia economy annually
- $3.2 billion in wages for West Virginia families
- 60,000 jobs
- Jobs pay an average of $68,500 annually, more than twice the state average wage
- 60% of the state’s business taxes are paid by coal and utilities
I had the pleasure of speaking with Mr. Bill Raney, President of the West Virginia Coal Association regarding the EPA’s arrogance and total disregard for “coal families” in West Virginia. He tells me there are of course the resident environmentalists and their “concerns”, mainly a study which shows the mine may have the potential of one insect, the mayfly, disappearing. [Emphasis added here]. However he has spoken openly and collectively with the residents who live in this rural area and they welcome the mine, the jobs and the dollars it will place into the West Virginia economy. He assured me unlike the Feds, the process has been open and transparent with community input all along and the mining company is always accessible to residents to listen to any concerns they may have.
Protecting a SMELT (feeder fish) by shutting off water to California farmers. (loss of jobs)
Pulling Permit for Already-in-Use Coal Mine for a mayfly. (Loss of jobs)
And here we thought Obama’s main objective was TO CREATE JOBS……
November 2, 2008
November 03, 2008
We are not racists.
We are not violent.
We are just no longer silent.