Here's another sign that whatever happens on energy in Congress, if anything, will be a sideshow: the EPA plans to reject a permit for a new coal mine in West Virginia. The planned mine would be yet another mountaintop removal. That is a direct slap at Big Coal in the most coal-dependent state in America. No more: mine, baby, mine.
This will be the first time such a permit has been rejected since the Clean Water Act was signed into law in 1972 by President Nixon. The EPA will veto a permit for the coal mine that was issued previously by the Corps of Engineers, never accused of being overly protective of the planet. This will surely end up in court and lengthly litigation, not to mention highly toxic fulminations in the U.S. Senate. Both Senators from West Virginia are Democrats and both are opposed to the EPA exercising its power this way in their state.
The coal company execs are shocked, shocked, I tell you.
WEST VIRGINIA COAL
Here are some facts showing the importance of coal to the state's economy and politics. Like $2 billion in payrolls annually. West Virginia, dominated by the coal industry, is the second poorest state in the U.S. Sound familiar? We electricity users get cheap energy, West Virginians get screwed and the local environment gets trashed. And now the EPA has effrontery to break up this business cycle?
GREEN OR GHASTLY?
It's not simply coal that's controversial in West Virginia. Is a wind farm green or ghsatly? Local activists are now fighting against a planned mountaintop wind farm. Meanwhile other green activists are asking for a mountain top wind farm, instead of another coal mine blasting off the peak.