Three coal-state congressmen are asking the Environmental Protection Agency to rethink tight new water quality standards for Appalachian surface coal mining permits.
West Virginia Democrats Nick Rahall and Alan Mollohan and Virginia Democrat Rick Boucher made the request in a letter to EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson.
EPA set strict limits on salt levels in waterways downstream from surface mines April 1. The agency argues that burying streams with mine wastes increases salt levels in waterways downstream, hurting fish and other aquatic life.
The congressmen say the EPA acted without considering the policy’s implications and treats Appalachia diff erently under federal law than other parts of the country.