COPY-EPA sets May 18 hearing on Spruce Mine permit

Associated Press - April 29, 2010 4:14 AM ET

CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) - The Environmental Protection Agency plans a May 18 public hearing on the fate of what would be West Virginia's largest strip mine.

The hearing on Arch Coal's Big Spruce No. 1 mine in Logan County is set for 7 p.m. at the Charleston Civic Center. Speakers are urged to register in advance.

EPA has said it plans to veto a previously granted permit for the mountaintop removal operation because valley fills would bury 7 miles of intermittent streams and hurt water quality.

EPA also says the project would affect 2,278 acres of forest.

The project was permitted in 2007, but has been delayed by lawsuits.

The agency says extended discussions with Arch failed to produce a plan that would significantly cut environmental and health impacts. Arch, in turn, has sued the EPA.

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