The Mountain Eagle . . Wednesday, July 21, 2010 . . Page 2 Mine industry sues over MTR permits By TIM HUBER and predictable permit terms have been Mine operators say the practice is highly for valley fills at surface coal mines in West AP Business Writer unsuccessful, leaving us no choice but efficient, supports tens of thousands of Virginia, Kentucky, Pennsylvania, Ohio, CHARLESTON, W.Va. to challenge the EPA and Corps policy in jobs and provides coal for electric power Virginia and Tennessee. EPA Administrator The coal industry filed a lawsuit Tuesday court,” NMA President Hal Quinn said in a plants across much of the South and East. Lisa Jackson said at the time the goal was a challenging the Obama administration’s statement. “The agencies’ continued abuse But opponents argue that surface mining is standard so strict that few, if any, permits efforts to limit surface coal mining in Ap- of the law to impose arbitrary standards on too damaging to the environment because would be issued for valley fills. palachia. mining operations, state agencies and other it disposes of excess material such as rock The lawsuit seeks to have that policy The National Mining Association’s law- federal regulatory bodies threatens the en- by burying streams. overturned as well as to eliminate the EPA’s suit accuses the Environmental Protection tire region with further economic misery In this series of court battles, lawsuits practice of offering to approve one valley Agency and the Army Corps of Engineers and stagnant employment.” by coal companies or industry groups have fill permit at a time, which the NMA says of illegally preventing mines from obtain- The EPA had no immediate comment. been rare. The companies typically find oversteps the agency’s authority. ing water quality permits in the region. If The corps referred questions to the U.S. themselves fighting lawsuits by environ- Those decisions should be left to the successful, the NMA says the lawsuit would Department of Justice, which also had no mental groups that seek to stop individual federal Office of Surface Mining Reclama- free a logjam of 235 pending permit applica- immediate comment. permits. tion and Enforcement, the lawsuit contends. tions that have been held up for additional The lawsuit is the latest skirmish in a The core of Tuesday’s lawsuit is an at- “EPA and the Corps have launched a mov- scrutiny by the EPA since 2009. series of court fights over mountaintop tack on the new surface mining policy an- ing target in coal mining permitting that is “Members’ efforts to navigate this removal coal mining in West Virginia, nounced by the EPA on April 1. The policy substantially and irreparably harming NMA’s unlawful process and obtain reasonable Kentucky and other Appalachian states. tightened water quality standards solely coal mining members,” the lawsuit says. PURLINA S. GIBSON Police say suspect left kids in car (Continued from Page 1) her in a vehicle. The manager was on her way out of the store to check on the children when police ar- rived at 6:50 p.m. The manager and Whitesburg Police Officer Jarrad Hipps found all three children in the backseat of the unlocked car. A blanket had been draped over a car seat which held the infant. Gov. Steve Beshear toured the flood-damaged community of Raccoon in Pike County as thousands remained without electricity or running water “A two-month-old was in a car this week. (AP Photo/The Herald-Leader, Charles Bertram) seat in just a diaper (and) covered up with a blanket,” said Fields. Floods damage Pike “They removed the blanket to find the child gasping for air, almost unconscious.” The children were rushed in- side the grocery store until medi- cal personnel arrived to transport the baby to Whitesburg hospital. The Associated Press Fields said the infant spent Friday night in the intensive care unit at PIKEVILLE, Ky. the Whitesburg hospital and was A few thousand homes re- released on Saturday evening. mained without running water “It was devastating to all of Tuesday in the wake of harsh us,” said Fields. “Everybody was flooding in Pike County that in shock.” turned over cars and destroyed Fields said the other two chil- homes. dren who had been in the vehicle Local, state and federal officials appeared to be fine. He said all were in the county to begin esti- four windows in Gibson’s ve- mating damage so they can seek hicle were rolled down. Fields said federal assistance. the thermometer in his cruiser “The aftermath of the flooding showed a temperature of 83 de- in Pike County is really unlike any- grees, but he said weather could thing I’ve seen before,” Gov. Steve have been hotter. Beshear said in a news release. Gibson is accused of placing About 3,000 customers of the $89.96 worth of stolen items into Mountain Water District still had a diaper bag she had carried into water outages Tuesday, while the store. 25,000 customers remained under “When she got out of that car a boil water advisory. going into the store with an empty Officials hope to cut the num- diaper bag, she knew what she was ber without water service in half by doing,” said Fields. the end of Tuesday, said Grondall Fields said some of the items Potter, project manager for the found in the diaper bag were baby company that operates the water formula, diapers, shaving cream, district. razor, and two eight-ounce soft But Potter said some areas are drink bottles. so isolated after flooding washed Many homes were knocked off their foundations in Raccoon in Pike County. (AP Photo/The Herald-Leader, Gibson took her two-year-old away roads and tossed debris that Charles Bertram) daughter with her into the store. it could be three weeks before “The two-year-old witnessed it some customers get their water all,” said Fields. turned on. Gibson is charged with felon- Potter said the flooding dam- ly counts of first-degree wanton aged the main water plant’s in- endangerment, first-degree take valve, but it has since been criminal abuse and endangering repaired. the welfare of a minor. She also “It was the swiftness of this faces a misdemeanor charge of (flood) that caused so much of the theft by unlawful taking (shop- damage,” Potter said. lifting). The Saturday night storms in Bond for Gibson is set at central Pike County knocked out $10,000 cash. She asked for a bond power to more than 6,000 homes, reduction during her arraignment but only about 180 were still with- in Letcher District Court, which out power as of Monday night. District Judge Kevin R. Mullins Beshear visited the devastated denied. Gibson pleaded not guilty areas on Monday and has de- to her charges and a preliminary clared a state of emergency for hearing is set for 10 a.m. on July the county. Two deaths have been 28. attributed to the flooding. Fields said information he The flash flooding damaged has gathered in his investigation water lines, leaving about 12,000 will be presented to the Letcher people without running water, County Grand Jury. said Pike County Judge/Executive Wayne Rutherford. “We are resilient people here Conway gains in the mountains, we take these disasters and we go ahead and build back and move on,” said endorsements Rutherford, who likened the dam- age to a tornado. in Senate race Cases of bottled water were be- ing handed out, and about 14,000 Trucks and campers were left on the railroad track earlier this week after weekend flooding in Raccoon in Pike County. (AP Photo/The Herald-Leader, Charles Bertram) The Associated Press residents have been told to boil LOUISVILLE Kentucky Democratic Senate candidate has picked up a couple their tap water before using it. The National Weather Service said between three and seven finished, the state will ask for a federal disaster declaration, mak- ing the county eligible for federal First Lady Jane Beshear of endorsements. inches of rain fell in the area Sat- funds, Rutherford said. Conway’s campaign said he’s being backed by the United Auto urday evening. Areas just east of Pikeville were the hardest hit by “We’re going to have a lot of destroyed homes in the county,” is promoting first phase Workers union and the Kentucky storms, according to the weather said Robyn Tackett, director of the State Building and Construction Trades Council. service. “It absolutely destroyed every- Big Sandy Red Cross chapter. Tackett said an overnight shel- of appliance rebates UAW regional director Mo Da- thing in its path,” Rutherford said. ter set up at Pike Central High The Associated Press tuckians who reserved a rebate vidson said Conway has a plan to A man died after falling off a School saw about 100 people LOUISVILLE have not purchased an appliance, create and preserve jobs in the U.S. bridge in Pike County near Zebu- during the day, but only about two There’s still time for Kentuck- making those unclaimed funds Larry Roberts, state director lon on Saturday. State police said dozen slept there Sunday night. ians to apply for appliance rebates. available. of the Building and Construction Craig Morris, of Carrie, stopped on She said despite the devasta- Kentucky first lady Jane Bes- The state says the unclaimed Trades Council, calls Conway one the bridge to look at a family mem- tion, many opted to stay in the hear said nearly $1.7 million in funds will be given on a first-come, of the state’s “best and brightest ber’s home during the storms. The their flood-damaged homes at unclaimed funds remain in the first-serve basis. leaders.” Conway is the state’s at- second victim, Donna Walters, night to protect from looting. state’s Energy Efficient Appliance Under the program, Kentucky torney general. of Pikeville, was swept away by “That doesn’t mean the struc- Rebate Program. residents who buy an eligible En- Conway is running against Re- floodwaters, Rutherford said. Her ture’s sound enough to stay in, but During the program’s first ergy Star replacement appliance publican Rand Paul for the seat of body was found Sunday. they just want to hold on to what phase, residents could reserve from a Kentucky retailer may be Sen. Jim Bunning, who is retiring. Once damage assessments are little bit they have left,” Tackett said. rebates. But nearly half of Ken- eligible for a rebate.