Saturday, June 13, 2009

Obama Admin. Strikes Back Against Mountaintop Mining, Stop Blowing Up My Mountains_GOD

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The Obama Administration Takes Unprecedented Steps to Reduce Environmental Impacts of Mountaintop Coal Mining.


Obama Administration officials announced today that they are taking unprecedented steps to reduce the environmental impacts of mountaintop coal mining in the six Appalachian states of Kentucky, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Virginia, and West Virginia through a coordinated approach between the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Department of the Interior (DOI) and Army Corps of Engineers.

Through a Memorandum of Understanding signed by Lisa P. Jackson, Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency; Ken Salazar, Secretary of the Interior; and Terrence “Rock” Salt, Acting Assistant Secretary of the Army for Civil Works, the Administration will implement an Interagency Action Plan on mountaintop coal mining that will:

* Minimize the adverse environmental consequences of mountaintop coal mining through short-term actions to be completed in 2009;
* Undertake longer-term actions to tighten the regulation of mountaintop coal mining;
* Ensure coordinated and stringent environmental reviews of permit applications under the Clean Water Act (CWA) and Surface Mining Control and Reclamation Act of 1997 (SMCRA);
* Engage the public through outreach events in the Appalachian region to help inform the development of Federal policy; and
* Federal Agencies will work in coordination with appropriate regional, state, and local entities to help diversify and strengthen the Appalachian regional economy and promote the health and welfare of Appalachian communities.

“Mountaintop coal mining cannot be predicated on the assumption of minimal oversight of its environmental impacts, and its permanent degradation of water quality. Stronger reviews and protections will safeguard the health of local waters, and thousands of acres of watersheds in Appalachia,” said EPA Administrator Lisa P. Jackson. “Our announcement today reaffirms EPA’s fundamental responsibility for protecting the water quality and environmental integrity of streams, rivers, and wetlands under the Clean Water Act. Getting this right is important to coalfield communities that count on a livable environment, both during mining and after coal companies move to other sites.” “The Army is pleased to support interagency efforts to increase environmental protection requirements and factual considerations for mountaintop coal mining activities in Appalachia,” said Terrence “Rock” Salt, Acting Assistant Secretary of the Army for Civil Works. “The initiative being announced today will allow us to move forward on a number of important permit applications while providing improved certainty and transparency to permit applicants and the public.” “The steps we are taking today are a firm departure from the previous Administration’s approach to mountaintop coal mining, which failed to protect our communities, water, and wildlife in Appalachia,” said Secretary Salazar. “By toughening enforcement standards, by looking for common-sense improvements to our rules and regulations, and by coordinating our efforts with other agencies, we will immediately make progress toward reducing the environmental impacts of mountaintop coal mining.” “This agreement represents federal agencies working together to take the President’s message on mountaintop coal mining into action,” said Nancy Sutley, Chair of the White House Council on Environmental Quality. “We are committed to powering our country while protecting health and welfare in the Appalachian region, securing access to clean streams and safe drinking water, and honoring our clean water laws.” In close coordination, EPA, DOI, and the Corps will take several short-term actions to reform the regulation of mountaintop coal mining under the two primary environmental laws governing this mining practice. The Army Corps of Engineers and the Environmental Protection Agency will take immediate steps under the CWA to minimize environmental harm by taking the following actions in 2009:

* Requiring more stringent environmental reviews for future permit applications for mountaintop coal mining;
* Within 30 days of the date of the MOU, the Corps will issue a public notice (pursuant to 33 C.F.R. § 330.5) proposing to modify Nationwide Permit (NWP) 21 to preclude its use to authorize the discharge of fill material into streams for surface coal mining activities in the Appalachian region, and will seek public comment on the proposed action;
* Strengthening permit reviews under CWA regulations (Section 404(b)(1)) to reduce the harmful direct and cumulative environmental impacts of mountaintop coal mining on streams and watersheds;
* Strengthening EPA coordination with states on water pollution permits for discharges from valley fills and state water quality certifications for mountaintop coal mining operations; and
* Improving stream mitigation projects to increase ecological performance and compensate for losses of these important waters of the United States.

The Department of Interior will also take the following steps:

* Reevaluate and determine how the Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement (OSM) will more effectively conduct oversight of state permitting, state enforcement, and regulatory activities under SMCRA;
* Ensure the protection of wildlife resources and endangered species by coordinating the development of CWA guidance with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS); and
* If the U.S. District Court vacates the 2008 Stream Buffer Zone Rule, as requested by the Secretary of the Interior on April 27, 2009, Interior will issue guidance clarifying the application of stream buffer zone provisions in a preexisting 1983 SMCRA regulation to ensure mining activities will occur in a more environmentally protective way in or near Appalachian streams

Concurrent with these short-term actions, the three agencies will embark on a comprehensive, coordinated review of their existing respective regulations and procedures governing mountaintop coal mining under existing law. The agencies will also create an interagency working group to promote ongoing Federal collaboration and ensure the Action Plan achieves results. As these reforms are implemented, the agencies will seek to involve the public and guide Federal actions through robust public comment and outreach
EPA and the Army Corps of Engineers are today taking steps to enhance coordination in the environmental review of pending Clean Water Act permits for surface coal mining activities in Appalachian States. Administrator Jackson and Acting Assistant Secretary Salt have directed EPA and Corps field offices to coordinate under new procedures to ensure Clean Water Act permit decisions are fully consistent with sound science and the law, reduce adverse environmental impacts, provide greater public participation and transparency, and address pending permits in a more timely manner.
The Federal agencies will also work in coordination with appropriate regional, state, and local entities to help diversify and strengthen the Appalachian regional economy and promote the health and welfare of Appalachian communities. This interagency effort will have a special focus on stimulating clean enterprise and green jobs development, encouraging better coordination among existing federal efforts, and supporting innovative new ideas and initiatives.

* EPA-Corps Enhanced MTM Coordination Procedure
* Letter from EPA to Department of the Army
* MOU Among U.S. Department of the Army, U.S. Department of the Interior, and U.S. Environmental Protection Agency

Source: WhiteHouse.Gov

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1 comment:

Vernon Malcolm said...

Now that the anti-science, superstition-based initiative presidency is over, we need Manhattan projects to make us great again and boost us out of this Grotesque Depression. First we must provide free advertising-based wireless internet to everyone to end land line monopolies. Better yet, renationalize the telephone companies like in 1917 and now put them and the DTV fiasco and the internet under a renationalized post office. Then we must criscross the land with high speed rail. Because bovine flatulence is the major source of greenhouse gases, we must develop home growable microbes to provide all of our protein. Then we must create microbes which turn our sewage and waste into fuel right at home. This will end energy monopoly by putting fuel in our hands. We must finally join the metric system and take advantage of DTV problems to create a unified global standard for television and cellular telephones instead of this Anglo Saxon competitive waste. We must address that most illness starts from behavior, especially from parents. Since paranoid schizophrenia is the cause of racism, bigotry, homelessness, terrorism, ignorance, exploitation and criminality, we must provide put the appropriate medications, like lithium, in the water supply and require dangerous wingnuts who refuse free mental health care to be implanted with drug release devices. Churches should be licensed to reduce supersition and all clergy dealing with small children should be psychiatrically monitored to prevent molesting. Osama bin Laden and Timothy McVeigh were the ultimate superstition based initiatives. Aborting future terrorists and sterilizing their parents is the most effective homeland security. Preganancy is a shelfish, environmentally desturctive act and must be punished, not rewarded with benefits, preference and leave. Widen navigation straits (Gibraltar, Suez, Malacca, Danube, Panama and Hellspont) with deep nukes to prevent war. In order to fund this we must nationalize the entire financial, electrical and transportation system and extinguish the silly feudal notion that each industry should be regulated by its peers. Technology mandates a transformation of tax subsidies from feudal forecloseable debt to risk sharing equity. Real estate and insurance, the engines of feudalism, must be brought under the Federal Reserve so we may replace all buildings with hazardous materials to provide public works. Insects, flooding and fire spread asbestos, lead and mold which prematurely disables the disadvantaged. Disposable manufactured housing assures children are not prematurely disabled and disadvantaged. Because feudalism is the threat to progress everywhere, we must abolish large land holdings by farmers, foresters or religions and instead make all such large landholding part of the forest service so our trees may diminish greenhouse gases. Darwin led to the worst colonial, militarist, attrocity and stock market abuses in history - Lamarkian inhertiance and mitochondrial DNA show that Darwin was not all he is crackered up to be. We must abolish executive pay and make sure all employees in a company are all paid equally. We must abolish this exploitative idea of trade and monopoly and make every manufactured disposable cottage self sufficient through the microbes we invent. Southern Oligarchs destroyed the Democarts in the sixties and destroyed the Republicans this decade - they would not allow viable candidates like Colin Powell, Mitt Romney or Condi Rice to even be considered!

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