New EPA Policy Should Protect Communities from Mountaintop Removal
Thursday, April 1st, 2010
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Dana Kuhnline (304) 546-8473 …Dana@TheAllianceForAppalachia.org?
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Members of The Alliance for Appalachia praised the new policy released today by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency which would regulate mountaintop removal mining. This tough new guidance would severely limit the impacts on water caused by mountaintop removal in central Appalachia, an important step forward for protecting communities from the environmental and health impacts of mountaintop removal.
Noting the numerous peer-reviewed studies that have highlighted the enormous cumulative impact of mountaintop removal in Appalachia, the EPA said that their actions were intended to reduce the environmental and human health impacts of the practice.
“Appalachia thanks Lisa Jackson and the EPA for taking the impacts on human health and environmental justice into consideration when issuing permits,” said Judy Bonds of Coal River Mountain Watch in West Virginia.
“Our 13,000 members are pleased that their pleas and prayers are being heard – the grandmothers and grandchildren I work with are seeing a new spark of hope today,” said Ann League of Statewide Organizing for Community Empowerment in Tennessee.
Community members hope that this decision is merely a first step along the path of ending this destructive practice – which has destroyed nearly 2,000 miles of streams and 500 mountains to date. “While there is much good news for us today, we also wonder — will this help save the community of Twilight in Boone County, WV and so many other communities that are in the mountaintop removal cross hairs? The safety of these communities depends on how these guidelines and laws are enforced,” said Vivian Stockman, with the Huntington, West Virginia based Ohio Valley Environmental Coalition.
“We expect Congress to follow the Administration’s lead by passing popular bipartisan legislation such as the Clean Water Protection Act (HR 1310), which would permanently protect the headwater streams of Appalachia,” said J.W. Randolph, Legislative Associate for Appalachian Voices.
The Alliance for Appalachia is a regional coalition of 13 groups in five states working to end mountaintop removal coal mining and support the creation of a just, sustainable economy in Appalachia. Members include: Coal River Mountain Watch, SouthWings, Kentuckians For The Commonwealth, Ohio Valley Environmental Coalition, SOCM- Statewide Organizing for Community eMpowerment, Southern Appalachian Mountain Stewards, West Virginia Highlands Conservancy, The Appalachian Citizens Law Center, Appalshop, Heartwood, Mountain Association for Community Economic Development and Appalachian Voices.