This afternoon, the Sixth Circuit invalidated Nationwide Permit 21, a permit used by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to authorize the dumping of coal mining waste into Appalachian headwater streams. The ruling is a significant victory for the numerous local, state, and national environmental groups that have been challenging this permit since 2003. The Appalachian Citizen’s Law Center provides an excellent rundown of the history of this case and what the ruling will mean.
Originally posted on Appalachian Citizens' Law Center:
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit today invalidated the 2007 version of the nationwide permit used by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to authorize the dumping of coal mining waste into hundreds of miles of Appalachian headwater streams.
“The Court agreed with us that the Corps failed in 2007 to demonstrate that filling streams with mining waste has minimal cumulative impacts and that the mining companies can mitigate those environmental impacts to insignificance, ” said Jim Hecker, Environmental Enforcement Director at Public Justice in Washington, DC. “This permit should never have been issued, because it was based on the Corps’ unsupportable assumption that filling these streams has minimal environmental effects.”
Since 2003, coalfield residents and state and national environmental groups have been challenging the legality of Nationwide Permit 21 in West Virginia and Kentucky federal courts. A West Virginia…
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