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Mountaintop Removal Set to Take Center Stage

Monday, August 27th, 2007

Valley Fill at Arch Mine above Cartwright Hollow, courtesy of Penny Loeb wvcoalfield.comAugust 27th, 2007 – The following email was sent to over 20,000 supporters of To sign up to receive free email alerts, click here.

Dear Friend,

For nearly a year, we’ve been working to pull back the veil of secrecy that has protected the coal companies that are blowing up the mountains of Appalachia.

And now, thanks to your efforts and support, the debate about the future of mountaintop removal is about to take center stage.

Today, in a major editorial, the New York Times says that “mountaintop [removal] mining cries out for Congressional intervention to define once and for all what mining companies can and cannot do” and highlights the Clean Water Protection Act.

Give the Bush administration credit for persistence. It just won’t let a bad idea die. On Friday, the Interior Department’s Office of Surface Mining proposed new regulations that it hopes will permanently legalize mountaintop mining – a cheap, ruthlessly efficient, environmentally destructive means of mining coal from the mountains of Appalachia.

By our count, this is the third attempt in the last six years to enshrine the practice by insulating it from legal challenge. But since the net result is likely to be more confusion and more courtroom wrestling, the situation cries out for Congressional intervention to define once and for all what mining companies can and cannot do.

. . .

With that in mind, two members of Congress – Frank Pallone Jr. of New Jersey and Christopher Shays of Connecticut – introduced a bill last spring that would reaffirm Clean Water Act protections prohibiting mining companies and other industries from dumping solid industrial wastes into the nation’s waters. The bill has already picked up 60 sponsors in its brief life, and the administration’s latest sleight of hand should add more converts to the cause.

Originally published in the New York Times. Click here to read the entire article. (you’ll need to signup for a free subscription to NYT online.)

It’s because of supporters like you that today the Clean Water Protection Act (H.R. 2169) — which would sharply limit what mining companies can do to our streams and rivers — has a record 92 co-sponsors in the U.S. House of Representatives. Click here to write your representative today and ask them to take action to stop mountaintop removal coal mining.

Unfortunately, the occasion for the New York Times editorial is a new rule proposed by the Bush administration that would legalize and expand the worst abuses of mountaintop removal.

If adopted, the new Bush regulation would exempt coal companies from a 1983 law that prohibits surface coal mining activities from disturbing areas within 100 feet of streams.

As Vernon Haltom, co-director of Coal River Mountain Watch, told Democracy Now radio, “what this rule change amounts to is a declaration of war against the Appalachian people.”

We’ll be providing you with the tools you need to speak out against this rule when public commenting takes place in the coming weeks.

It’s because of your support so far that the word is getting out that it’s time for mountaintop removal mining to end.

In addition to the The New York Times editorial and Vernon’s interview on Democracy Now, this week CNN featured Kayford Mountain resident Larry Gibson in its CNN Heroes series. Click here to watch the video.

And on Sunday, Rolling Stone contributing editor Jeff Goodell published an important editorial in the Washington Post on the true cost of coal. Click here to read the editorial.

All of this press coverage — and the Bush administration’s wrong-headed rule proposal — mean that in the coming weeks, the fight to stop mountaintop removal coal mining will be in the public’s focus like never before.

In fact, in just the last week, more than 1,000 people have added their voices to and the movement to stop mountaintop removal coal mining.

Help us keep that momentum going by spreading the word about our efforts today.

On a number of fronts, this fall is shaping up to be a defining time in the debate about the future of our mountains.

Please, continue raising your voice in defense of the mountains we love.

Mary Anne Hitt

P.S. Your financial contribution today could still be doubled through a Hanes matching grant. Click here to learn how to double your impact.

5 Responses to “Mountaintop Removal Set to Take Center Stage”

  1. pjfinn Says:

    Keep up the work folks. Some of us in Montana are watching this one closely too. Thank you. Thank you more than I can say.

  2. robin wieder Says:

    protect our earth please.

  3. lostpaddler Says:

    Wired News has a feature on Mountain Top Removal today

  4. Shaping Youth » Using Mobile to Mobilize: Tapping Into Youth Info Needs Says:

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  5. » Blog Archive - End Mountaintop Removal Coal Mining » Mountain Monday: Gauley Mountain, WV Says:

    […] Gauley Mountain is the newest addition to America’s Most Endangered Mountains, and is part of our Appalachian Mountaintop Removal layer in Google Earth. […]

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