Court Challenges Result in Two Coal Mines Idled
On Tuesday, Consol Energy announced plans to idle mountaintop removal mining at two West Virginia locations. The company blames environmental activists.
A company spokesman blamed the Ohio Valley Environmental Coalition specifically, saying the company’s permits for those mining operations had been approved until the OVEC challenged them. Then, two weeks ago, U.S. District Judge Robert Chambers suspended the permits, ruling the Army Corps of Engineers didn’t give the public enough of a say before issuing permits, which is a requirement of the Clean Water Act.
Fola Coal Co. and Little Eagle Coal Co. are the affected plants; almost 500 employees may be laid off.
The West Virginia Chamber of Commerce release a statement in response to the announcement that read, in part, “The ‘war on coal/domestic energy’ that is being waged by the Obama Administration, Congress, Robert Kennedy, Jr., Al Gore, environmentalists and Hollywood celebrities is hitting home in West Virginia. In Clay County alone, by some estimates the closure of this mine will cut school funding by up to 25 percent….and dramatically increase unemployment there (which currently stands at 14.6 percent).
“Other mining operations are reviewing future viability due to EPA’s mine permit review process and other federal actions. Workers at Arch Coal’s Mingo Logan Spruce No. 1 mine face uncertainty due to an EPA announcement in mid-October that it was initiating a process to veto the issuance of the mine’s 404 water discharge permit.”
– Suzanne Bopp