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EPA wants permit needed for Wise County surface mine revoked

Staff Report • Apr 10, 2009 at 12:00 AM

According to a report in the Bristol Herald Courier the Environmental Protection Agency has asked the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to revoke a permit needed for surface mining on Ison Rock Ridge in Wise County.

The nearly 1,300-acre site just outside the town of Appalachia is proposed for mining by A&G Coal Corp. The permit would allow the deposit of mining waste into valleys, which the company says is necessary for such operations to be cost-effective.

In an April 3 letter, EPA Environmental Assessment and Innovation Division Director John Pomponio wrote to Corps of Engineers Norfolk District Commander Col. Dionysios Anninos asking that a more stringent permit process be applied, citing potential environmental impacts of the project.

“EPA Region III has extensively investigated the downstream effects of surface mining and associated valley fills. These published findings indicate the type of activities proposed by the applicant are strongly related to downstream biological impairment,” Pomponio wrote. “EPA’s findings also indicate that there may be significant degradation of the waters of the United States and a violation of … water quality standards.”

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