A report by the Environment and Public Works (EPW) Committee of the U.S. Senate indicates thousands of West Virginia jobs are endangered by the EPA’s continuing withholding of mining permits across the state.
According to the report, entitled “The Obama Administration’s Obstruction of Coal Mining Permits in Appalachia,” the EPA’s policies threaten almost 6,000 mining jobs as well as some $217 million in tax revenues for the state. In addition, the report indicates that on a regional basis, the EPA obstruction endangers more than 160,000 jobs.
In fact, the report indicates the EPA’s action is only part of a “broader agenda” to “drastically curtail coal mining in Appalachia.” 

”For decades, the environmental community has politicized mountaintop mining by exaggerating its environmental impacts and stoking unfounded fear in mining communities. Our investigation shows that the Administration is exploiting this fear as a means to block all coal mining operations in the Appalachian region,” the report states.
Bill Raney, president of the West Virginia Coal Association, said the study confirms what West Virginia’s coal industry has known for the past 18 months … that it is the Obama Administration’s apparent intent to destroy Appalachian coal mining.
“It is unbelievable that the Obama Administration and the EPA are trying to literally throw thousands of West Virginians out of work and onto unemployment lines at a time when the nation is struggling to get out of a severe recession,” Raney said. “Our unemployment lines are already too long.
“It is particularly troubling in that the coal industry has literally fueled our nation for the past 100 years – providing the cheap and reliable energy that allowed us to build the strongest economy in the world. Yet Obama and the EPA seem determined to villainize our industry and condemn our state and region to poverty.”
According to the report, the EPA has allowed only 45 of the 235 Clean Water Act (CWA) permits nationwide to be issued that were pending on Jan. 1, 2009, and had been reviewed by state regulatory bodies and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.  As a result, coal mining communities throughout Appalachia remain concerned about their economic futures, and this report documents the human toll extracted by EPA’s ongoing review and new guidance on coal mining permits.