Photo courtesy of the Ohio Valley Environmental Coalition and SouthWings.
While we watch the continuing BP oil disaster in the Gulf, there is another form of dirty, destructive, energy we need to break free from: Coal.
A very important deadline is rapidly approaching —on June 1st the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) will stop taking public comments on its proposed veto of the permit that would allow devastating mountaintop removal coal mining at the massive Spruce No. 1 mine in Logan County, West Virginia.Local residents have been actively challenging the approval of this permit at the Spruce No. 1 Mine for more than twelve years. The proposed expansion of the mine would bury more than seven miles of headwater streams, directly impact 2,278 acres of forestland, and degrade water quality in nearby streams. This EPA veto would stop that expansion.
Tragically, coal mining companies have buried close to 2,000 miles of Appalachian streams beneath piles of toxic waste and debris caused by mountaintop removal coal mining. The mountains of Appalachia are literally under attack from this devastating process.
Last week hundreds of people gathered at a public hearing on the veto where EPA officials and the crowd heard both from the coal industry and from local residents who spoke out for families, clean water, and for not destroying more of Appalachia.
"I've heard a lot about jobs and coal miners, and I appreciate that," said local resident Marilyn Mullens during her testimony at the hearing. "But what are we going to do when the entire Earth becomes so polluted that there's no going back?"
Scientific consensus has proven that mountaintop removal coal mining harms streams, rivers and drinking water supplies. It is ravaging ecosystems, wreaking havoc on wildlife, sickening people, and devastating Appalachian communities. Mullens' testimony about what's next is echoed well in this editorial from the Charleston Gazette.
"Permits such as Spruce No. 1 bury streams," said another speaker at the hearing, Stephanie Tyree, an organizer with the Ohio Valley Environmental Coalition. "And they demolish mountains as you all know, but most importantly, Spruce No. 1 would harm people."
Mountaintop removal coal mining is an egregious environmental injustice and an embarrassment for America. "If EPA finalizes the veto it will be showing a commitment to environmental justice, a commitment to the protection of the community around the mine and to the protection of the waters of Appalachia," said Bill Price with the Sierra Club Environmental Justice Program in West Virginia.
We urge you to join us in supporting EPA in its proposal to veto Spruce No. 1, one of the largest proposed mountaintop removal coal mines ever authorized in Appalachia. You can take action right now to block this mine's permit.
We must not let this destructive coal mine move forward in Appalachia.
Read more about mountaintop removal mining:
Scientists Say Mountaintop Removal Mining Should Be Banned - No Remediation Ever Enough
Angry Coal Miners Boycott Tennessee Vacations Over Mountaintop Removal Mining
Ready to Get Pissed Off at Mountaintop Removal Mining? Watch This. (Video)