The above quote is from Davie Ransdell who was a former supervisor at the Kentucky Division of Mine Permits. Ransdell is talking about J. Steven Gardner who the Trump administration just named to head the Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement. From Ken Ward, Jr. in this morning’s Charleston Gazette-Mail:
President Donald Trump on Thursday named a longtime Kentucky coal industry consultant to head the national agency that's charged with enforcing the federal Surface Mining Control and Reclamation Act of 1977.
The White House announced in a statement that Trump had nominated J. Steven Gardner to serve as director of the federal Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement within the U.S. Department of Interior. Gardner needs Senate confirmation before he can serve in the post. He was a major critic of the Obama administration's policies regarding coal mining and environmental regulations, and has been a vocal supporter of mountaintop removal coal mining.
As Ward notes, the Sierra Club has long been a critic of Gardner:
"Gardner has shown time and again that he will try and fight anything that gets in the way of profits for coal executives - even if it means sacrificing the health of the families and communities in Kentucky," the group said. "Throughout his career he has shown nothing but contempt for science-based clean air and water protections for working people, and dutifully pandered to corporate polluters instead of the advice of doctors and public health professionals."
On Thursday, the group Appalachian Voices said that Gardner has throughout his career "shown he will always take the side of the coal industry. He is not the director Appalachian communities need to protect and advance their future."
*Okay, I admit it – I didn’t know the correct name for a group of foxes until I looked it up.