The Environmental Protection Agency is in Kentucky this week for two hearings on mining permits. The state’s Division of Water issues permits to coal mines to discharge into waterways, but the EPA has the authority to review the permits. Over the past two years, the EPA has objected to 36 Kentucky permits. In its objection letters, the agency lays out the problems with the permits. The main problem, the EPA says, is that Kentucky didn’t provide a complete analysis of the potential damage the discharge could cause to waterways.
Both coal industry groups and environmental organizations are expected to attend the hearings. After the hearings, the EPA will decide whether to reaffirm or modify the original objections, and the state will have 30 days to respond.