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Agencies Propose Sweeping Changes to Surface Mining

The Environmental Protection Agency, the Department of the Interior, and the Army Corps of Engineers have agreed to work together to minimize the environmental harm caused by surface mining in Appalachia.  While they work to replace a 1983 rule that governs the disposal of mine waste into nearby streams, EPA Senior Policy Counsel Bob Sussman says the agencies will take several steps to provide more stringent reviews of future mining permit applications.“One is to supply guidance that explicitly indicates how we expect operators and regulators to apply that rule," says Sussman.Sussman says that includes invigorating states’ roles in applying that rule.  The agencies also plan to end a blanket permit program that authorizes mine operators to place waste in streams without an environmental review.On the web: The agencies' Memorandum of Understanding (opens .pdf file)


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