Kentucky Waterways Alliance head Judy Peterson is praising an announcement from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency today that sets new pollution standards for streams near mountaintop coal mining operations.
“We are thrilled. I think what this really tells us is that this administration came in and really looked at the science. And they have acted today to protect our streams, but also to protect our communities,” Peterson said.
The agency’s new rule limits the amount of conductivity – or salinity – allowed in streams. And that could limit the practice of valley fills. Streams affected by valley fills, or the pushing of mining debris into nearby valleys, have been found to have conductivity levels many times higher than normal, which harms aquatic life. The National Mining Association issued a statement today (Thurs.) criticizing the EPA’s science, however, and accusing it of issuing the rule without allowing public comment. While the rule takes affect immediately, it is in fact open for public comment now.