NMA said EPA’s decision would add “further uncertainty for jobs and economic security throughout Appalachia.”
Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D-W.Va.) also criticized EPA’s decision.
“I have said this before, and will say it again: it is wrong and unfair for the EPA to change the rules for a permit that is already active,” Rockefeller said in a statement.
But EPA said the risks to the environment were too great to let the mine go forward as planned. The mine would bury over 7 miles of headwater streams, directly impact 2,278 acres of forest, and degrade water quality in streams adjacent to the mine.
“The damage from this project would be irreversible,” said Shawn Garvin, EPA regional administrator for the Mid-Atlantic.
The EPA decision is only the 13th time the agency has vetoed projects since 1972, according to EPA.
This post was updated to reflect the fact EPA has not announced a final decision on the Spruce No. 1 mine.