Army Corps of Engineers Solicits Public Comment on Two Proposals Related to Nationwide Permit 21 in the Appalachian Region (Earthtimes.org)
Posted by the USACE:
WASHINGTON, July 15 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers announced today it is soliciting public comments on two proposals related to the use of Nationwide Permit (NWP) 21 in the nation’s Appalachian region. NWP 21 authorizes discharges of dredged or fill material into waters of the United States for surface coal mining activities.
The proposals would affect only the Appalachian region of the following states: Kentucky, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Virginia, and West Virginia. The use of NWP 21 for surface coal mining activities in other regions of the country would not be affected.
The first proposal is to modify NWP 21 to prohibit its use in the Appalachian region. In the absence of NWP 21, an applicant would be required to obtain an individual permit for surface coal mining projects. An individual permit includes increased public and agency involvement in the permit review process, including an opportunity for public comment on individual projects.
The second proposal is to suspend NWP 21 while the Corps evaluates the comments received during the 30-day comment period, and while the Corps completes the process to modify NWP 21. If NWP 21 is suspended during this interim period, an applicant would be required to obtain an individual permit for surface coal mining projects.
The Corps’ decision to issue these proposals is a result of the interagency action plan agreed to on June 11, 2009, as part of a Memorandum of Understanding signed by the Corps, the U.S. Department of the Interior, and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. The agencies agreed to work together to reduce the adverse environmental impacts of surface coal mining activities in the Appalachian region. A copy of the MOU is available at: http://www.usace.army.mil/CECW/Pages/moumoas.aspx.
A public notice on the proposals was published in the July 15, 2009 Federal Register, http://edocket.access.gpo.gov/2009/pdf/E9-16803.pdf . Written comments should be submitted at the federal eRulemaking portal at http://www.regulations.gov under docket number COE-2009-0032; or mailed to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Attn: CECW-CO (Attn: Ms. Desiree Hann), 441 G. Street N.W., Washington, D.C. 20314. Comments must be submitted on or before August 14, 2009. Email or faxed comments will not be accepted.
SOURCE U.S. Army Corps of Engineers
It would appear to me that the USACE does try to do what they can to protect the communities and nature when they have the support of the government, and the public. But, I would think it would be difficult to do so if their hands are tied by either weak laws, greed, or when those in places of power bend like reeds in the wind.
I am sorry to say that this is too little, too late. The existing laws it seems have not been fully enforced as they should be for a very long time — for 500 mountains are already blown up! And hundreds more are in the pike.
What ever happened to “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you” — is that too much to ask? Those who think these practices are good, or at least a necessary evil, could they, or more importantly would they, walk in the moccasins, drink the water, live in the homes of those who have suffered due to these destructive or at best polluting practices? Would they want this done to their home? The same holds true for coal plants.
Honestly, it seems to me that even the current laws would be difficult to adhere to when confronted with such a destructive process as Mountain Top Removal. The process itself is the problem.
IMHO, either those who are mining coal should figure out how to get the coal out without impacting the surrounding natural area (the forests, streams, animals, etc.) and the human communities that have put their entire lives and fortunes into their mountain homes, or find a new safer business model that doesn’t hurt people, places or things.
Certainly, renewable energy sources would be much safer for everyone and everything and not be the one shot that Mountain Top Removal is (once you blow up the mountain and take the coal, it’s gone). Not to mention the joke of supposedly trying to put the mountains back to rights after they’ve already been destroyed.
The effects of MTR (Mountain Top Removal) on communities and nature, and the other end of the spectrum, the effects of Coal Fired Power Plants on communities and nature, can be seen through many places including my postings, iLoveMountains.org, Environmental Justice or through searches in search engines. It truly is appalling.
Even if other methods are, or seem like they are more expensive right now, they won’t be for long as they become more ubiquitous. Just as in other areas, once the R&D has been paid for, the prices do come down.
NO ONE SHOULD SUFFER TO PROVIDE ELECTRICITY TO ANYONE.