Brown declined to respond to the complaints by activists about the environmental toll of mountaintop removal mining, saying, "That's an argument that has no end.''
Melissa Waage, campaign director for the Natural Resources Defense Council, said in an interview that the EPA has taken a "baby step in the right direction, but this is still happening. The administration really does have it within its power to end this practice.''
In a statement issued to The Associated Press, the EPA said that it has significantly strengthened and improved protections for the public by reducing the environmental and water quality impacts of coal mining.
"And, at the request of members of Congress, mining companies, states and others, EPA issued further clear guidance to assure that mountaintop mining permits fully protect local waters and coalfield communities,'' the agency said.
Appalachia Rising: www.appalachiarising.org
Faces of Coal: http://www.facesofcoal.org/index.php ;;;;