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The Obama administration has approved a new mountaintop removal permit with the condition that the operator protects downstream water quality. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) signed off on federal Army Corps of Engineers issuance of a Clean Water Act permit for Arch Coal Inc. subsidiary Coal-Mac Inc.'s Pine Creek Surface Mine near Omar, West Virginia in Logan County.

The Center opposes mountaintop removal.

EPA officials instructed Coal-Mac to build its valley fill waste piles one (of three) at a time. Waiting to start the next one until the previous one is finished allows monitoring of each fill prior to initial construction of subsequent fills, ensuring that predicted water quality outcomes are achieved.

The permit involves a 760-acre mountaintop removal operation that was among the mining applications receiving additional scrutiny from the EPA under the Obama administration's effort to reduce impacts from Appalachian strip mining. (The Charleston Gazette, 6/29/2010)

EPA Guidance on Mountaintop Removal

Surface Mining