U.S. Representative Nick J. Rahall (D-W.Va.) announced Monday that the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Huntington District, has issued a 404 Clean Water Act permit for the Reylas Mine in Logan County.
“I am very pleased to see some progress being made and commend the Corps for working to find a balance that allows the mining to go forward while minimizing the environmental impact,” Rahall said. “I think southern West Virginia is already seeing benefit from the pending sale of Massey to Alpha Natural Resources, which is creating a better environment with respect to coal mining permits and the health and safety of mine workers."
Rahall met on Tuesday with the Commander of the Huntington Corps, Colonel Robert D. Peterson, to discuss Corps projects, including permitting in southern West Virginia.
In early 2009, the EPA placed a hold on six of 48 permits being considered by the Corps, three of them for surface mines in West Virginia. Rahall has been urging the EPA to expedite its consideration of the stalled permits.
The Section 404 Clean Water Act permit would allow Highland Mining Company, a subsidiary of Massey Energy, to proceed with mining operations while putting into place a water monitoring and mitigation plan to help minimize the environmental impact. After mining and reclamation, the site will be used for emergency FEMA housing and associated infrastructure.