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For Immediate Release, September 11, 2009

Contact: Tierra Curry, Center for Biological Diversity, (928) 522-3681

Center for Biological Diversity Applauds Environmental Protection Agency Decision to
Hold Back 79 Mountaintop Removal Permits for Further Review

FLAGSTAFF, Ariz.— The Center for Biological Diversity supports the Environmental Protection Agency’s decision today to hold back 79 mountaintop removal coal mining permits in Appalachia for further review. If the permits were to be approved, coal companies would be allowed to destroy tens of thousands of acres of hardwood forest and bury hundreds of miles of streams in toxic mining waste. 

“Daily in Appalachia, nearly 4 million pounds of explosives are used to blast one of the oldest mountain ranges on earth, endangering the lives and property of residents and destroying streams and forests that provide habitat for an incredible diversity of fish and wildlife,” said Tierra Curry, conservation biologist with the Center for Biological Diversity. “Holding back these permits is a good step toward ending this destruction, but the Obama administration needs to ban mountaintop-removal coal mining and fund the development of an alternative green economy in Appalachia.”

In March, the EPA issued a statement saying they would “use the best science and follow the letter of the law” in reviewing mountaintop removal permits, but then in May they approved 42 new permits, more than were approved during the entire Bush administration. Today’s decision to subject pending permits to further environmental review does not revoke any permits. Mountaintop-removal coal mining has already destroyed 500 mountains, more than 1 million acres of hardwood forest, and more than 1,200 miles of streams.

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