Miners, industry leaders and political officials converged on West Virginia’s capitol this week to protest the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s revocation of a water permit for Spruce No. 1 Mine, which would have employed the controversial mountaintop-mining method.
Organized by Acting Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin, the protesters rallied in opposition to the EPA’s reversal, which effectively scuttled one of the largest mountaintop mine projects in the country. They claimed it would cost jobs and state revenue.
“We are here today because of what we know to be a drastic and unfair action by the EPA,” Tomblin said, as reported by the Associated Press. “This act is an outright infraction on coal miners, on the state of West Virginia, and yes, even our own communities.”
They were protesting the EPA’s Jan. 13 revocation of water permits granted years ago to Arch Coal Inc. of St. Louis. Mountaintop mining is a process of coal extraction in which the top of a mountain is sheared off to expose the coal, then returned afterward. Often the debris that doesn’t make it back onto the mountain is dumped into nearby ravines, choking streams.