This morning, the Environmental Protection Agency responded to an email asking for comments on a letter Governor Steve Beshear sent to President Barack Obama earlier this week. In an interview, Energy and Environment Cabinet Secretary Len Peters expressed frustration with the EPA’s requirements for permits. He says Kentucky worked with the regional EPA on a template for future permits and came to an agreement, but the deal was rejected by the EPA headquarters.
In the response, the EPA didn’t respond directly to a question about why the agreed-upon template was rejected. In the statement, the agency said:
“EPA appreciates the State of Kentucky’s efforts to work with us to reduce water pollution and public health impacts from coal mining that impact waters used for drinking, fishing, swimming, among other recreational activities. We have made significant progress with the State of Kentucky in identifying improvements to mining permits that are consistent with the requirements of the Clean Water Act and emerging science. As we have done in the past, EPA continues to be willing to reach common sense agreements to mine coal while avoiding permanent environmental impacts and protecting water quality. The EPA’s number one priority is to protect the health of all Americans and to allow the people of Kentucky and other states the choice of both healthy waters and a healthy economy.”