Stand up for Appalachia!

You can go a long way toward helping the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) stand up for clean water in Appalachia. Rarely does such a seemingly innocuous piece of rulemaking play such a profound role on the environmental health of an area. You, the public, can applaud and recommend additional improvements to EPA’s draft guidance (PDF) supporting scientific review of mining practices, including the appalling acts of removing mountaintops and burying healthy headwater streams. Take the simple step of submitting your comments by December 1st.

You may remember our listing of the Gauley River as one of America’s Most Endangered Rivers™ in 2010, due to the destructive practice of mountaintop removal coal mining.  The practice of mountaintop removal mining has been tearing at the heart of Appalachia for decades by threatening the social and cultural stability of communities with large scale, ‘bigger is better’ technology that reduces the number of coal field jobs and encroaches on the fundamental structures of community functions such as schools, historical sites, and graveyards.

The act of mountaintop removal mining blasts rock, soil, and trees — livable habitat created over thousands of years — to expose narrow seams of coal. Mountains created over thousands of years can not be rebuilt in a stable manner. So, after the coal is removed from a mountain, cleaned, processed, and burned to generate power for the eastern seaboard, the mountain’s remnants are too unstable to recreate a mountaintop. The ‘debris’ is dumped in valleys and streams, filling them up and destroying the genesis of clean water— essential threads for healthy communities in the mountains and much further downstream.

The proposed EPA guidance utilizes a Clean Water Act that is grounded in science and applied to coal mining practices in Appalachia to restore integrity to headwater rivers and deliver clean water to communities in the mountains and downstream into the nation’s heartland.

If EPA has established guidance to apply sound science to the permitting of coal mining activity in the mountains of Appalachia, why should the public speak out and submit comments? Because the coal industry continues to spread fables of wealth without mention of the true costs, and praise those still blind to the science.

Join our colleagues in Appalachia standing up for science-driven guidance so the people in coal country, and communities downstream of Appalachia, have clean water with which to survive and prosper. Click here to TAKE ACTION by December 1st.