Better World Club

Monday, February 1, 2010

Go Tell It On the Mountain

Help Us Convince The EPA to Stop Mountaintop Removal Mining

It seems pretty obvious that blowing up the top of a mountain would be bad for the mountain (and the surrounding environment). But, despite overwhelming scientific evidence pointing to the negative environmental effects of mountaintop removal mining, the Army Corps of Engineers has submitted 79 revised permit requests for mountaintop removal operations to the Environmental Protection Agency. (The EPA rejected the 79 permit requests last year because all requested operations would likely violate the Clean Water Act.) So far, one project has been approved.

When a mountaintop is "removed" to afford access to coal, forests are clear-cut and topsoil stripped, millions of tons of earth are exploded, and the resulting debris is then dumped into adjacent valleys, often burying the streams below. These processes not only cause (obvious) irreparable harm to a mountain, but also threaten biodiversity and the health of human populations downstream from valley fills. In other words, the results are anything but scenic. In fact, the whole thing makes for an altogether un-pretty environmental picture.

What's more, the entire process is employed only for the mining of coal, a source of expensive and dangerous pollution in itself. Government should be incentivizing the exploration of cleaner, sustainable energy sources, not encouraging an environmentally destructive activity that also furthers an industry with so many problems of its own.

Help us drive change by asking EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson to stand strong against the coal industry and put an end to mountaintop removal under the demands of the Clean Water Act.

Readers can also contact the EPA's Mid-Atlantic office with comments and suggestions for EPA staff near proposed mining sites.

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