West Virginia: "DEP To Stop Processing Fill Permits, Develop New Rules"

"CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- West Virginia regulators are going to stop processing surface mining permits that propose to dump waste rock and dirt into streams while they develop new guidelines that force coal operators to reduce water quality impacts downstream from valley fills.

Randy Huffman, secretary of the state Department of Environmental Protection, revealed his plan Wednesday in an interview with the Gazette.

Huffman said his goal is to stop wasting DEP staff time on permits that change dramatically after they are re-examined by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

Also, Huffman said it's also become clear to him that the state must push coal companies to further reduce environmental damage. The state needs to try to tackle the issue, rather than just complaining about the EPA or waiting for the federal government to come up with its own guidelines, Huffman said."

Ken Ward Jr. reports for the Charleston Gazette January 6, 2010.

Source: Charleston Gazette, 01/07/2010