We have a chance to defeat a 2,000-acre mountaintop removal permit owned by Alpha Natural Resources. The permit was first issued in 2008 but no mining activity has occurred. Federal law states that a permit â€œshall terminateâ€ if mining has not begun within three years of the permit being issued.
Coal River Mountain Watch requested that the West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) terminate the Eagle 2 permit, prompting the department to instead retroactively grant Alpha an extension, in clear violation of the law. The federal Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement (OSMRE) affirmed the DEPâ€™s action.
Fortunately, a federal judge vacated OSMREâ€™s decision and compelled the agency to reconsider terminating the permit in light of evidence spelled out in a lawsuit brought by Coal River Mountain Watch. As part of this process, OSMRE has asked the DEP for supplemental information.
Now under a new administration, the DEP can correct the mistake of its predecessors and terminate the Eagle 2 permit. Please contact DEP Secretary Austin Caperton and urge him to correct this mistake, and to uphold his agencyâ€™s mission to promote a healthy environment.