Charleston, W.Va. (AP) -- Rep. Nick Rahall says the Environmental Protection Agency has dropped its objections to a permit that would allow a giant West Virginia surface mine to continue operating.
The democratic congressman said Monday that EPA administrator Lisa Jackson told him the agency will send Patriot Coal's application for the hobet 45 mine to the Army Corps of Engineers this week.
The corps issues clean water act permits allowing operators to bury intermittent streams with excess material removed from surface mines.
The permit is one of 79 held up for extra scrutiny since the EPA began trying to curb so-called mountaintop removal coal mines this fall.
Environmental activists have been pushing for an outright ban.
Rahall said Patriot negotiated various concessions including water-quality monitoring with the EPA.
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