The Environmental Protection Agency announced yesterday it was suspending and reviewing permits for two mountaintop removal coal mining operations and putting hundreds more mountaintop coal-mining permits on hold until it can evaluate their impact on our nation’s streams and wetlands.

The decision by EPA administrator Lisa Jackson could delay 150-250 permits being sought by companies wanting to begin blasting mountaintops to access coal. The permits are issued by the Army Corps of Engineers, which has been cozy with the coal industry and already has been sued for failing to thoroughly evaluate the environmental impact of mountaintop removal. The EPA suspended the permits because mountaintop removal mining’s destruction of aquatic resources and  its “persistent, permanent” damage to the region’s health.

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