Quantcast

Groups Demand EPA Regulate Toxic Water Pollution from Mountaintop Removal Coal Mining

Energy

As my colleague Mary Anne Hitt noted in her "highlights of 2014" column we've had some significant victories in the fight against the destruction of mountaintop removal coal mining in Appalachia over the past year.

Mountaintop removal coal mining in southern West Virginia. Photo credit: Vivian Stockman / Ohio Valley Environmental Coalition

But there is still so much to be done to stop this horrible practice from devastating our communities, our health and our wild Appalachian places. That's why the Sierra Club joined a coalition of groups taking legal action this week to compel the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to enforce clean water protections that West Virginia and Kentucky state agencies have failed to uphold.

For years, our coalition of national and local Appalachian groups—including the Ohio Valley Environmental Coalition, West Virginia Highlands Conservancy, West Virginia Rivers Coalition, Kentuckians For The Commonwealth (KFTC) and attorneys with Appalachian Mountain Advocates—have raised concerns about the extraordinary extent to which West Virginia and Kentucky state agencies how bowed to coal industry pressure when it comes oversight of mountaintop removal coal mining. State agencies have failed to prevent the widespread contamination of state waters by these mines.

The EPA is required to respond to legal petitions, but has not responded since these groups first petitioned back in June of 2009. Even after we filed a notice of our intention to hold the agency accountable in court two months ago, we still have received no word from it.

Communities in Appalachia have been living with mountaintop removal pollution for too long. The EPA needs to step up and seize the opportunity to protect Appalachian residents from rampant water pollution. We've shown the federal government that Kentucky and West Virginia are refusing to hold mining companies accountable for dangerous pollution—the EPA must take action.

The Sierra Club and our coalition of partner groups want the EPA to immediately revoke the authority of those states to implement the Clean Water Act. Or, even better, if the EPA thinks change is possible it can start working with the states tomorrow to make sure they finally get serious on this critical issue.

Mountaintop removal coal mining is poisoning our waterways in Appalachia, and experts predict many may be on the brink of collapse. Recent health studies have also shown that the air around mountaintop removal sites is harmful. The EPA must step up and protect the communities in Appalachia.

YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE

Former Massey Energy CEO Don Blankenship Indicted for Deaths of 29 Coal Miners 

Mountaintop Removal Coal Mining Industry Continues to Poison Appalachia

Mountaintop Removal Linked to Cancer

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

"It would be great to see all the candidates join Elizabeth Warren in taking the No Big Ag Money Pledge," said Citizens Regeneration Lobby's Alexis Baden-Mayer. Peter Blanchard / Flickr / ric (CC BY 2.0)

By Andrea Germanos

Food system justice and environmental advocates on Wednesday urged all Democratic presidential hopefuls to follow in the footsteps of Sen. Elizabeth Warren in signing a pledge rejecting campaign cash from food and agribusiness corporations.

Read More
A new study shows the impact Native Americans had on landscapes was "small" compared to what followed by Europeans. The findings provide important takeaway for conservation in New England today, seen above in a view of areas surrounding Rangeley Lakes in Maine. Cappi Thompson / Moment / Getty Images

There's a theory going around that Native Americans actively managed the land the lived on, using controlled burns to clear forests. It turns out that theory is wrong. New research shows that Native Americans barely altered the landscape at all. It was the Europeans who did that, as ZME Science reported.

Read More
Sponsored
Loggers operate in an area of lodgepole pine trees killed by the mountain pine beetle in the Beaverhead-Deerlodge National Forest on Sept. 13, 2019 in Montana. As climate change makes summers hotter and drier in the Northern Rockies, forests are threatened with increasing wildfire activity, deadly pathogens and insect infestations, including the mountain pine beetle outbreak. The insects have killed more than six million acres of forest across Montana since 2000. Chip Somodevilla / Getty Images

President Donald Trump told a crowd at the Davos World Economic Forum Tuesday that the U.S. will join the Forum's 1t.org initiative to restore and conserve one trillion trees around the world, according to The Hill.

Read More
Wild rice flatbread is one of many Native recipes found in Indigikitchen. Indigikitchen

The online cooking show Indigikitchen is providing a platform to help disseminate Indigenous food recipes — while helping eaters recognize their impact on the planet and Native communities.

Read More

On the Solomon Islands, rats and poachers are the two major threats to critically endangered sea turtles. A group of local women have joined forces to help save the animals from extinction.

Read More