In their latest move to stifle the mining industry, environmental NGO Earthworks is bullying the EPA into revisiting a long-standing rule surrounding mining operations waste. In an August 12 blog post, the folks at the American Resources Policy Network, the group’s figure head, Daniel McGroarty, shed light on a week-long misinformation campaign the environmental NGO ran last week that urged the greenie movement to contact the EPA and Army Corps of Engineers.
The dishonest trend within these environmental campaigns becomes especially clear when they claim a 2002 ruling over mining waste was some sort of pernicious decision made solely by the Bush Administration, whom they viewed as weak on their tenet issues. However, this article dispels that myth, explaining that the rule was first proposed in the Clinton administration and then later finalized under Bush’s EPA.
The rule set forth nearly a decade ago, known as the “fill rule,” relates to how to deal with the waste from mining operations. This article goes into further detail here, and the following excerpt describes why environmental radicals oppose it:
Environmentalists hate the 2002 “fill rule” because it ended the definitional ambiguity on “fill material,” and, thereby ended an avenue to litigate coal. If mining overburden—the material that goes into a valley fill—can be interpreted as “waste,” then environmentalist lawyers could argue that this “waste” is excluded from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ “purpose based” definition of “fill material.” As a result, these litigants would allege that the Corps doesn’t have the authority to issue section 404 permits to valley fills.
Furthermore, this rule will not just [affect] the coal mining industry, but numerous other types of mining, potentially devastating to the industry. This is why the EPA backed off of this issue, after initially supporting a re-visiting of the rule in 2010. Even Obama’s anti-mining EPA did not think changing this rule was prudent, showing you how off-the-wall-crazy some of these environmental campaigns are.
Another similar rule deals with how mining companies treat water waste. This is where the Earthworks campaign comes in. It is common for the mining industry to construct lakes in which waste is deposited until it can be treated and cleaned. The environmentalists want to prevent waste from ever entering these lakes at all, making it impossible to clean up mining residuals, and ultimately, continue mining.
It does not seem likely that the EPA will change this rule because of the devastating effect that it will have on a still weak economy. However, if enough environmentalists raise their voices, they might consider revisiting when the economy begins to recover. That’s why we need to be equally heard.
Please take a moment to tell the EPA to leave the “fill rule” alone and to stop stifling mining jobs by over-regulating this industry.
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