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Yarmuth Commends Decision to Limit Mountaintop Removal Damage, Calls for Congress to Take Further Action

(Washington, DC) Today, Congressman John Yarmuth (KY-3) expressed his support of federal policies designed to reduce the environmental impacts of mountaintop removal mining in the Appalachian Region.

“It is encouraging that the Obama Administration is taking a step forward to halt the devastating and irreversible damage of mountaintop removal,” said Congressman Yarmuth. “I call on my Congressional colleagues to build on these efforts to ensure that this irresponsible practice no longer threatens the Appalachian region or the health and security of its residents.”                                                                                                          

A new, coordinated approach announced today by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the Army Corps of Engineers, and the Department of the Interior (DOI) includes the following efforts:

• The Corps will modify the usage of Nationwide Permit (NWP) 21 to prevent its use for authorizing mountaintop removal permits in the Appalachian region.
• The EPA and the Corps will strengthen the regulation, enforcement, and permitting of surface mining operations.
• The EPA will improve and strengthen oversight and review of water pollution permits for discharges from valley fills.
• The Corps and EPA will jointly clarify how to evaluate impacts on proposed mitigation projects and streams.

“This is an important step, but much more action is needed to protect the Appalachian Region,” Congressman Yarmuth added.

Congressman Yarmuth then called on his fellow legislators to support the Clean Water Protection Act, which would change environmental standards to end mountaintop removal mining. The Clean Water Protection Act would amend the Water Pollution Control Act to clarify that the "fill material"- which mining companies are presently permitted to dump in valleys in streams and valleys - cannot  be waste material from mountaintop removal sites.