Wednesday, December 3, 2008

The Damage that Can Be Done

Coal Mining Debris Rule Is Approved

Yesterday, the White House approved "one of the most contentious" regulations officials are trying to push through in Bush's final weeks in office, making it "easier for coal companies to dump rock and dirt from mountaintop mining operations into nearby streams and valleys."

Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Stephen Johnson claimed that the new rule would "protect fish, wildlife and streams."
But a coalition of environmental groups said the rule would accelerate “the destruction of mountains, forests and streams throughout Appalachia.”

Edward C. Hopkins, a policy analyst at the
Sierra Club, said: “The E.P.A.’s own scientists have concluded that dumping mining waste into streams devastates downstream water quality. By signing off on this rule, the agency has abdicated its responsibility.”

Mr. Bush has boasted of his efforts to cooperate with President-elect
Barack Obama to ensure a smooth transition, but the administration is rushing to complete work on regulations to which Mr. Obama and his advisers object. The rules deal with air pollution, auto safety, abortion and workers’ exposure to toxic chemicals, among other issues.

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