Miano spoke out on Thursday after McCabe and other federal officials visited the state to view mountaintop removal operations from the air and to discuss the issue with state regulators.
Miano said the various agency officials met on Tuesday to "consolidate their position on mountaintop mining and to prepare a response to a lawsuit filed in federal court against DEP and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers over that mining procedure."
"It was McCabe's first opportunity to fly over these operations to see first-hand on the ground the areas affected by the two permits," Miano said. "He also looked at a variety of sites that were mined over the past 20 years to see what kind of reclamation work was done there. I think he was favorably impressed."
In a news release detailing his conference speech, Miano said he is "convinced these permits are legally ready to be issued."
"I believe that the permits will be issued, but because of the legal concerns and the complexity of the authority issues at the federal level, it has taken much too long," Miano said.
McCabe, in a telephone interview, disagreed.
"What we're trying to do is ensure that the water quality standards are upheld," McCabe said. "That is our responsibility and I assume it's DEP's responsibility as well.
"Every time we ask the state or the coal companies a question about the impacts of these mining operations, we get an incomplete answer," McCabe said. "The information out there is very thin in terms of specific and cumulative impacts."
McCabe said he also sees no reason to engage in a war of words with Miano.
"Throughout this process, I have tried to focus on the law, and the fact that we do not have enough information about the environmental impacts of these massive mining operations," he said. "If we all focus on getting good information to help us follow the law and do our jobs, I think that is the best course for this conversation to take."