Alexander Statement on EPA’s Surface Mining Guidance

Posted on April 1, 2010

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) today issued the following statement on the new Environmental Protection Agency guidelines on surface mining permits in Appalachia: 

“The new EPA guidelines are useful in stopping some inappropriate coal mining in Appalachia but Congress still needs to pass the Cardin-Alexander legislation that would effectively end mountaintop removal mining.  By mountaintop removal, we mean blowing the tops off of mountains and dumping the waste in streams. 

“Coal is an essential part of our energy future, but it is not necessary to destroy our mountaintops in order to have enough coal to meet our needs.” 

The Cardin-Alexander Appalachian Restoration Act, introduced in 2009, would amend the Clean Water Act to define a material to be a pollutant if it replaces water with dry land or changes the depth of the body of water for any purpose. It would allow “cross-ridge mining” where a mountain’s top is moved, the underlying coal mined, and then the mountain top restored.