Coal Project Is Bellweather for Obama Mining Policy

Thumbnail image for epa_4a.jpg

A West Virginia project may show how serious the Obama administration is about rolling back the environmental policies of its predecessor.

The Spruce 1 mountaintop-removal mining project has been hotly disputed for years, and now there are signs that Obama's Environmental Protection Agency may tilt the scales against the approval of the project.

"The Army Corps of Engineers approved a permit in 2007 to blast 400 feet off the hilltops here to expose the rich coal seams, disposing of the debris in the upper reaches of six valleys, including Pigeonroost Hollow," reports Erik Eckholm in The New York Times. "But the Environmental Protection Agency under the Obama administration, in a break with President George W. Bush's more coal-friendly approach, has threatened to halt or sharply scale back the project known as Spruce 1. The agency asserts that the project would irrevocably damage streams and wildlife and violate the Clean Water Act." If Spruce 1 is stopped, it would come as a welcome move for environmentalists, who have been waiting for Obama to push back on former President Bush's policies.

In a 2009 study of Appalachian coal mining, Colorado State political scientists Charles Davis and Robert Duffy found that the Bush administration "effectively achieved his energy production goals by combining the use of discretionary authority with staff controls, executive orders, and regulatory initiatives to lessen industry compliance costs with environmental regulatory requirements."

Image: Mary Workman, who waged a long fight against Hanna Coal Company, and was photographed during the EPA's photo archival project, Documerica. Erik Calonius/National Archives and Records Administration

Presented by

How to Cook Spaghetti Squash (and Why)

Cooking for yourself is one of the surest ways to eat well. Bestselling author Mark Bittman teaches James Hamblin the recipe that everyone is Googling.

Join the Discussion

After you comment, click Post. If you’re not already logged in you will be asked to log in or register.

blog comments powered by Disqus

Video

How to Cook Spaghetti Squash (and Why)

Cooking for yourself is one of the surest ways to eat well.

Video

Before Tinder, a Tree

Looking for your soulmate? Write a letter to the "Bridegroom's Oak" in Germany.

Video

The Health Benefits of Going Outside

People spend too much time indoors. One solution: ecotherapy.

Video

Where High Tech Meets the 1950s

Why did Green Bank, West Virginia, ban wireless signals? For science.

Video

Yes, Quidditch Is Real

How J.K. Rowling's magical sport spread from Hogwarts to college campuses

Video

Would You Live in a Treehouse?

A treehouse can be an ideal office space, vacation rental, and way of reconnecting with your youth.

More in Technology

Just In