Judge Rules EPA Overstepped its Authority When it Vetoed WV Surface Mine Permit

In a case that could have far-reaching implications, a federal judge has ruled that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency exceeded its authority in revoking permits for a strip mine in West Virginia. The EPA vetoed the permit for Arch Coal’s Spruce Mine more than a year ago, saying it would cause irreparable damage to the […]

Amendment Ruins Tennessee Bill to Ban Mountaintop Removal, Sponsor Says

A measure in the Tennessee Senate to ban mountaintop removal coal mining in the state has hit a roadblock. The original Tennessee Scenic Vistas Protection Act would have prohibited new mining permits from removing the ridgelines of mountains above 2,000 feet. But an amendment has changed the intent of the bill, and the bill’s lead […]

Group Celebrates Sit-In of Governor’s Office With Protest Skit in Rotunda

Members of Kentuckians for the Commonwealth are preparing for next week’s I Love Mountains Day rally in Frankfort. Several members performed a skit in the Capitol Rotunda today depicting fake legislators and coal operators trading cash while the sick and needy looked on. KFTC member Chris Schimmoeller says the point of the skit was to show […]

Mayoral Race in Eastern Kentucky Could Alter City’s Fight Against Surface Mining

Newly-re-elected Kentucky Governor Steve Beshear has promised to be friendly to the coal industry. But another, smaller election may have more immediate implications: this week voters elected a new mayor in the Harlan County town of Lynch. Lynch sits at the foot of Black Mountain, the highest point in Kentucky. The Kentucky-Virginia state line runs […]

Judge Ruling in EPA Lawsuit May Have Few Practical Implications

A judge has ruled with the coal industry in a lawsuit against the Environmental Protection Agency. It’s a victory for the industry, but the decision could have little practical meaning for Kentucky’s coal mines. The judge ruled the EPA overstepped its authority when it instituted an “Enhanced Coordination Procedure” in 2009 to evaluate permits for […]

Judge Rules in Favor of Coal Industry in Lawsuit Over Mine Permits

A federal judge has ruled in favor of the coal industry in a lawsuit against the Environmental Protection Agency. The National Mining Association sued the agency, questioning its jurisdiction under the Clean Water Act to review permits for mountaintop removal mines. Luke Popovich is the spokesman for the NMA. “We’re encouraged and we really think […]

Lawyer Files Ethics Complaint Over ‘Appalachian Inbreeding’ Remarks

A North Carolina law professor has filed an ethics complaint against the Washington, D.C. law firm that insinuated inbreeding was responsible for birth defects in Appalachia. The law firm made the comments while trying to refute a study connecting mountaintop removal to birth defect rates. Law firm Crowell and Moring raised several issues with the […]

Associated Press Story Examines Reasons Behind Appalachian Coal Decline

The Associated Press had a story out yesterday about declining Appalachian coal reserves, and whether those are more to blame for cuts in the coal industry than federal regulations. The story starts with Jerry Howard, an eastern Kentucky mine owner who closed his mine two years ago. “Business owners like Howard, politicians and miners in […]

The EPA’s Tour of Eastern Kentucky

Officials from the Environmental Protection Agency will be in eastern Kentucky Thursday and Friday, and I’ll be following them on their tour and reporting back. The group includes Gwen Keyes Fleming, the regional administrator, and Lisa Garcia, who is EPA head Lisa Jackson‘s senior advisor for environmental justice. These officials and others from the Region […]

Poll Shows Public Opinion in Appalachia Against Mountaintop Removal

A new poll shows significant opposition to mountaintop removal coal mining in Kentucky, West Virginia, Tennessee and Virginia. Both Democratic and conservative polling firms conducted the survey, which polled about 1,300 likely voters in the four states. The results show that those polled—even Republicans and Tea Party members—support enforcing and even increasing Clean Water Act […]