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West Virginians Call for Real Enforcement

Wednesday, February 26th, 2014

On February 11th West Virginians faced yet another coal slurry spill into their waters.  Charged with enforcing surface mine regulations under the Surface Mine Reclamation and Control Act (SMCRA), the Dept. of Interior (DOI) has been conspicuously absent and silent regarding these spills.  DOI offered no comment on the recent 100,000-gallon coal slurry spill into a West Virginia creek that flows into the Kanawha River on Feb. 11th nor on the coal slurry spill in McDowell County on Feb. 19th. The Citizen Action for Real Enforcement (CARE) Campaign is asking “Where is Secretary Jewell”?

State regulators in West Virginia routinely fail to hold the coal industry accountable for its pollution. The West Virginia CARE Campaign has petitioned the federal Office of Surface Mining (OSM) to intervene in the WV Dept. of Environmental Protection (DEP) to ensure safe water, air and communities for West Virginia residents. The 18 CARE Campaign partners and allied groups collected over 50,000 signatures in support of that legal petition.  Individuals across the country signed on to demand that the DOI and OSM institute real enforcement in West Virginia.

Rob Goodwin, a technical expert at Coal River Mountain Watch, has been investigating the West Virginia DEP. “The West Virginia DEP has allowed the ground water and much of the surface water resources in this state to be destroyed by coal – forcing everyone to be hooked up to a huge corporation-owned water system where they have no rights or control over where their water comes from.”

Since Secretary Jewell took office in April of 2013, she has yet to meet with mine-impacted citizen groups across the country.  In addition to supporting the OSM intervention into the W.Va. DEP program, the CARE Campaign partners hope the Secretary will meet this spring with the Citizens’ Coal Council and impacted communities from around the nation.

How can you help WV, you ask? In addition to attending the event in DC on Thursday– Water distribution volunteers are still welcome & needed at the WV Clean Water Hub. Monetary donations are being accepted via the Keeper of the Mountains Foundation.

Join us to ensure real enforcement in West Virginia!

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Appalachian Voices  •  Coal River Mountain Watch  •   Heartwood  •  Keeper of the Mountains • Kentuckians for the Commonwealth 

Ohio Valley Environmental Coalition  •   Statewide Organizing for Community eMpowerment • Sierra Club Environmental Justice

Southern Appalachian Mountain Stewards  •   SouthWings  •  Stay Project  •   West Virginia Highlands Conservancy

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