Quantcast
Energy

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

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

Show Comments ()
Sponsored
The turkey ranch in Sonora is where Diestel keeps its pasture-raised birds. Jeanne Cooper

Popular Diestel Turkey Sold at Whole Foods Tests Positive for FDA-Prohibited Drugs

Diestel Turkey, sold by Whole Foods and other retailers at premium prices, says on its website that its "animals are never given hormones, antibiotics or growth stimulants."

But Diestel Turkey samples tested by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) suggest otherwise, leading consumers to wonder: Can these companies be trusted?

Keep reading... Show less

Slaughter of 90,000 Wild Horses Could Proceed Despite 80% Objection From American Public

The American Wild Horse Campaign on Thursday harshly criticized Interior Sec. Ryan Zinke's appointment of Brian Steed, the former chief of staff for U.S. Rep. Chris Stewart (R-UT), as the acting director of the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) as dangerous and out of step with the wishes of the vast majority of Americans.

"Rep. Stewart is leading the charge to slaughter America's wild horses and burros over the opposition of 80 percent of Americans," said Suzanne Roy, AWHC Executive Director. "Putting his deputy at the helm of the agency charged with protecting these national icons is like putting the wolf in charge of the chicken coop."

Keep reading... Show less
Renewable Energy

Bright Idea: This Lamp Harvests Its Own Energy From Plants

Now that's green energy. Dutch product designer Ermi van Oers and her team are working on the first atmospheric lamp powered by living plants.

The Living Light does not require an electric socket. It can harvest its own energy through the photosynthetic process of the encased plant, which means the potential of this off-grid light source could be "huge," as Van Oers told Dezeen.

Keep reading... Show less
Climate

Landmark Youth Climate Lawsuit Heads to Federal Appeals Court

There has been a significant development in the constitutional climate change lawsuit so far successfully prosecuted by 21 youth plaintiffs: The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals has decided to hear oral argument over whether the Trump administration can evade trial currently set for Feb. 5, 2018. Oral arguments will be heard before the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco on Dec. 11 and can be watched on a live stream beginning at 10 a.m. PST.

Keep reading... Show less
Sponsored
Climate
Martin Schulz / Flickr

Pope Francis: These 4 'Perverse Attitudes' Could Push Earth to Its Brink

Pope Francis issued a strong message to negotiators at the COP23 climate talks in Bonn, Germany on Thursday, warning them not to fall into "four perverse attitudes" regarding the future of the planet—"denial, indifference, resignation and trust in inadequate solutions."

Francis, who has long pressed for strong climate action and wrote his 2015 encyclical on the environment, renewed his "urgent call" for renewed dialogue "on how we are building the future of the planet."

Keep reading... Show less
Climate
The Greenpeace ship Esperanza sits near the Statoil contracted oil rig Transocean Spitsbergen. Greenpeacce

Groups Sue Norway Over Failure to Protect Environment for Future Generations

By David Leestma

Greenpeace and the Nature and Youth environmental group opened a lawsuit this week over Norway's failure to abide by its constitutional obligation to safeguard the environment for future generations.

The lawsuit, which focuses on local environmental damage and the contribution that oil extraction will make to climate change, challenges 10 licenses issued by the Norwegian government for exploration in the Barents Sea. Given to Statoil, Chevron and other oil companies, the licenses violate Norway's constitution and the Paris agreement, according to the plaintiffs. Government lawyers claim the case is a publicity stunt that risks valuable jobs.

Keep reading... Show less
Sponsored
Food
Lia Heifetz of Barnacle Foods hauls kelp for salsa. Bethany Sonsini Goodrich

A Plea for Kelp: These Farmers and Chefs Want to Make Seaweed the Next Superfood

By Sarah Bedolfe

Summer in southeast Alaska is kelp season for the cofounders of Barnacle Foods, Lia Heifetz and Matt Kern. Each week, the pair watches the tides and weather, waiting for the right moment to cruise out to the abundant kelp beds offshore. They lean over the side of the boat and pull up the fronds and stalks, one piece at a time. As soon as they get back to shore, they start processing the day's harvest into a local delicacy: kelp salsa.

Salsa and Alaskan algae might seem like odd bedfellows, but for Barnacle Foods, it's a calculated decision. The kelp's savory notes make the salsa's flavor "a little more explosive," according to Kern. And the pairing is also a practical one. "Salsa is such a familiar food item," Heifetz said. It's "a gateway to getting more people to eat seaweed."

Keep reading... Show less
Popular
Lorie Shaull / Flickr

Massive Pipeline Leak Shows Why Nebraska Should Reject Keystone XL

About 210,000 gallons (5,000 barrels) of oil leaked Thursday from TransCanada's Keystone oil pipeline near Amherst, South Dakota, drawing fierce outcry from pipeline opponents.

The leak, the largest spill to date in South Dakota, comes just days before Nebraska regulators decide on whether its controversial sister project—the Keystone XL (KXL) Pipeline—will go forward.

Keep reading... Show less
Sponsored

mail-copy

The best of EcoWatch, right in your inbox. Sign up for our email newsletter!