As we near the end of 2014, it seems yet another year has passed without significant action from The Obama Administration to end the worst abuses of mountaintop removal.
Members of The Alliance for Appalachia prepare to meet with White House Staff to discuss the need to end mountaintop removal and clean up the toxic legacy coal has left behind.
Despite the disastrous coal cleaning chemical spill in January that left 300,000 without access to clean water in West Virginia, despite a new study that links mountaintop removal to lung cancer, and despite recent accusations from local groups that a Kentucky mining company has violated the Clean Water Act nearly 28,000 times without meaningful repercussion, the Obama administration continues to drag their heels on desperately needed rule-making processes and has even cut off funding for a USGS study on the health impacts of mountaintop removal.
That’s why citizen groups are releasing a Grassroots Citizen’s Report on Mountaintop Removal today that lays out the stakes for the administration and tells them that the time for action is now. Read our press release about the report here.
Support these groups by contacting the administration and demanding action today!
Members of The Alliance for Appalachia meet with Obama administration staff to discuss the issues facing Appalachia.
The grassroots citizen’s report assesses the work the Obama administration has done in the region and provides recommendations for the final two years of Obama’s tenure. You can check out a one page summary of the report and access the full report here.
A quick summary of the report is this: We need urgent action from the Obama administration to protect mountain communities from the impacts of mountaintop removal and to begin planning for a sustainable future for Appalachia.
While we have successfully pressured this administration in the last five years to take actions that will help protect Appalachian communities from mountaintop removal, there is much more to be done.
In fact, there are four key actions the administration can take this year that will greatly impact the future health of our Appalachian communities and allow the Administration to follow through on its promises.
Add your voice to ensure that the Obama administration takes action!
Today dozens of residents from Appalachia and allies from across the country rallied at the White House Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ). Those wishing to contact the CEQ to support residents can take action here.
This office oversees the Environmental Protection Agency, the Office of Surface Mining and other agencies that are responsible for protecting Appalachian residents from the severe water and health impacts of mountaintop removal and other dangerous coal practices.
Appalachian leaders met with the agencies yesterday and were disappointed with the attitude the administration showed towards those that had traveled many hours to DC for the visit. The agency representatives asked for more time to work on the issue, but mountain leaders have been waiting five years since an Obama administration Memorandum of Understanding that promised action against the destructive practice as well as reinvestment in the economy of the region.
The tragic and unbelievable series of toxic water spills in Appalachia in 2014 alone – from the 300,0000 people impacted by the spill in West Virginia to coal ash and coal slurry spills in West Virginia, Virginia and North Carolina – are just the most recent disasters to show the failures of the Obama Administration to follow through on its promises to protect Appalachian communities. There have been over 500 mountains destroyed by mountaintop removal coal mining and the region is ready for a just transition to a new economy beyond this destructive practice.
The group engaged in a sit-in on the front steps of the CEQ and waited several hours for an agency representative to come out to speak with them – as well as hosting a square dance with a live band playing traditional Appalachian music in front of the CEQ. In addition, residents organized a bucket brigade to collect clean water from DC to bring back home to their communities which do not have access to safe water to drink.
When no representative agreed to meet with residents after several hours of waiting, residents placed a reportcard on the steps which evaluated the progress so far of the CEQ on important areas such as protecting the health and water of Appalachia. Participants in the rally gave the administration a grade of “incomplete.”
This year will be one of our hardest financially even as we move forward with a strong workplan, firmly rooted in local leadership from our steering committee and our busy work teams. Please donate to support our work for clean water and a healthy Appalachian future!
Thank you for your contribution!
Over 500 mountains have been destroyed for coal. Your home may be getting electricity from mountaintop removal coal mining. Want to find out your connection to mountaintop removal?
Learn more and take action at our partner website ILoveMountains.org.
The past two months have been a flurry of activity for members of the Alliance and our partners across the region. The ongoing water emergency in West Virginia, additional spills in West Virginia and North Carolina as well as busy state legislatures have kept our members and allies busy, busy, busy.
We’re excited to share some good news for our communities’ health and streams! A federal court has vacated the Bush administration’s 2008 gutting of the stream buffer zone rule and sent the issue back to the Office of Surface Mining — good news for the Obama administration’s efforts to rewrite the George W. Bush administration rule. We’ll be active this year pushing for strong protections for our water and we’ll keep you informed as this process moves forward.