One can only wonder whether the following EPA statement regarding its move on mountaintop removal was prompted by some angry phone calls to the agency from certain influential West Virginia lawmakers. In any event, here’s what the EPA sent out late Tuesday:
Following reports that mischaracterize actions taken by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), agency press secretary Adora Andy today issued a statement regarding mining permit applications:
The Environmental Protection Agency is not halting, holding or placing a moratorium on any of the mining permit applications. Plain and simple. EPA has issued comments on two pending permit applications to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers expressing serious concerns about the need to reduce the potential harmful impacts on water quality. EPA will take a close look at other permits that have been held back because of the 4th Circuit litigation. We fully anticipate that the bulk of these pending permit applications will not raise environmental concerns. In cases where a permit does raise environmental concerns, we will work expeditiously with the Army Corps of Engineers to determine how these concerns can be addressed. EPA’s submission of comments to the Corps on draft permits is a well-established procedure under the Clean Water Act to assure that environmental considerations are addressed in the permitting process.
There, we clear?
Well, maybe not clear enough for West Virginia Gov. Joe Manchin (D), who says he is planning to head to the White House tomorrow to talk some sense into the Obama administration.