9:43am

Tue June 5, 2012
Environmental Watchdog

Hearings on Mining Permits Begin Today

The Environmental Protection Agency is in Frankfort today for a hearing on mining permits. The agency is here to take public comments on 36 specific water permits—which coal mines need in order to discharge waste into streams and other waterways. The EPA has objected to all of the permits, saying the Kentucky Division of Water didn’t provide a complete analysis of the potential damage the discharge could cause.

Advocates of the coal industry and environmental activists are both expected to testify. The Kentucky Coal Association is holding a rally near the convention center at 5:00. Environmental groups—including the Sierra Club, Kentuckians for the Commonwealth and the Kentucky Environmental Foundation—will hold a rally at 6:00 at the Capitol Plaza Hotel.

There will be another hearing Thursday in Pikeville. After the hearings, the EPA will decide whether to reaffirm or modify the original objections, and the state will have 30 days to respond.