EPA ‘environmental justice’ tour of Eastern Kentucky rankles coal industry and its allies

EPA ‘environmental justice’ tour of Eastern Kentucky rankles coal industry and its allies


Posted 22 August 2011, by Deloris Foxworth, The Rural Blog, irjci.blogspot.com


Environmental Protection Agency officials met with leaders and other residents of four Eastern Kentucky communities last week to discuss the environmental impact of coal mining on their communities. Residents and leaders voiced concerns about water quality, air pollution and economic conditions, but the coal industry supporters criticized what the agency called an “environmental justice” trip, calling it “one-sided and anti-coal”, Erica Peterson of WFPL Radio in Louisville reports.

Stanley Sturgill, a Lynch City Council member and former federal mine inspector, told the officials from EPA Region 4 in Atlanta, “If you’re concerned, you’re branded that you’re against coal, any way, shape, form or fashion. We have tried to get that point across – we’re not. We’re strictly against surface mining; we’re for underground mining.” For more from Anders Eld of the Harlan Daily Enterprise, click here.
U.S. Rep. Hal Rogers, R-Somerset, and Charles Baird, chairman of Pikeville-based Coal Operators and Associates, were among those criticizing EPA for its lack of notice. The officials offered to meet with industry representatives for an hour on Friday, “but many members of the mining industry were at a conference in Lexington,” Peterson reports. To read statements from industry supporters, via a story from WYMT-TV in Hazard, click here. For a reply from Kentuckians for the Commonwealth, go here. For a Lexington Herald-Leader editorial, here.

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