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MAY 18th: EPA to Hold Public Hearing on the Proposed Spruce No. 1 Mine Project in Logan County, W.Va.

Release Date: 04/27/2010
Contact Information: Contact: Donna Heron 215-814-5113 / heron.donna@epa.gov

PHILADELPHIA (April 27, 2010) -- The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency today announced that it will hold a public hearing regarding its proposal under the Clean Water Act to significantly restrict or prohibit mountain top mining at the Spruce No. 1 surface mine in Logan County, W. Va. The project was permitted in 2007 and subsequently delayed by litigation. The Spruce No. 1 mine would bury over 7 miles of headwater streams, directly impact 2,278 acres of forestland and degrade water quality in streams adjacent to the mine.

EPA’s proposed determination comes after extended discussions with the company failed to produce an agreement that would lead to a significant decrease of the environmental and health impacts of the Spruce No. 1 mine.

The purpose of the public hearing is to obtain public testimony or comment on EPA’s proposed 404 (c) action on the Spruce No. 1 Mine project.

WHO: U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Region III representatives
WHAT: Public hearing on EPA proposal for Spruce No. 1 surface mine in Logan County, W. Va.
WHEN: May 18th, 2010 at 7:00 p.m.
WHERE: Charleston Civic Center (South Hall)
200 Civic Center Dr., Charleston, W.Va. 25301

Registering ahead of time is recommended:

Advance sign up is not required to attend or speak at the public hearing. However, because of the large turnout expected, EPA is recommending that people wishing to attend the public hearing, and especially those who wish to speak, sign up in advance. People wishing to sign up in advance can do so over the internet by going to http://www.epa.gov/region3/mtntop/spruce1hearing.html and clicking on the link, or by calling 877-368-3552.

To accommodate as many speakers as possible, each speaker will be limited to two minutes. There also will be an opportunity to sign up on-site the day of the public hearing. Speakers at the public hearing will be in order of sign up.

In addition, people wishing to provide comment may do so in writing. If you would like to submit written comments you may do so at the public hearing or on-line at www.regulations.gov (search for EPA-R03-OW-2009-0985).

More information on Clean Water Act Proposed Determination:

The Clean Water Act gives EPA authorization to deny the Spruce No. 1 Mine permit or add restrictions that the mine owner would be required to follow. The part of the Clean Water Act that grants this authorization is known as 404 (c). This section authorizes EPA to restrict or prohibit placing certain pollutants in streams, lakes, rivers, wetlands and other waters if the agency determines that the activities would result in “unacceptable adverse impacts” to the environment, water quality, or water supplies.

This authority applies to proposed projects as well as projects previously permitted under the Clean Water Act. A final decision to restrict or prohibit the Spruce No.1 Mine will be made at a later date by EPA’s national headquarters based on a recommendation from the regional administrator of EPA’s mid-Atlantic region, public comments, and discussions with the Army Corps of Engineers and the Mingo Logan Coal Company, the mine owner. Relevant documents, including the EPA regional administrator’s proposed determination can viewed on EPA’s website at www.epa.gov/region3/mtntop/spruce1.html.

Link to EPA Press Release on Spruce Mine Proposal:

http://yosemite.epa.gov/opa/admpress.nsf/0/D19F832B77DBB0AF852576F200567BA5