Right now, Congress is considering a bill to block the Interior Department from protecting our water from toxic mining pollution -- no matter the cost to our health or to our environment. If it passes, the Interior Department couldn't put new protections in place to prevent streams from pollution or destruction if doing so would stop corporations from mining even a single lump of coal.
This comes despite new studies that show people living near mountaintop removal coal mines in Appalachia are at increased risk of severe health problems like cancer, respiratory illnesses, and birth defects. It's clear that now is not the time to give polluters free reign to dump any more toxic mining pollution into our water.
Tell your representative to stand up for our water and our health by opposing Big Coal's bill to pollute our streams.
I strongly urge you to oppose H.R. 3409, the "Coal Miner Employment and Domestic Energy Infrastructure Protection Act."
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The bill, which would amend the Surface Mining Control and Reclamation Act (SMCRA) to prevent the Secretary of the Interior from proposing or issuing any rule before 2014 that would in any way reduce surface mining coal production, is flatly inconsistent with 35 years of existing law.
By handcuffing the Secretary of the Interior's rulemaking authority, the bill would make coal production -- no matter the cost to communities' health and welfare and the cost to the environment -- the only objective. Under this bill, the Secretary would be unable to issue a rule to prevent streams from destruction if doing so would prevent the mining of a single lump of coal.
Not only is this bill sweeping in its scope and unjustified based on science and the law, but it comes just at the time when severe health harm to people living near Appalachian mountaintop removal strip mines -- including cancer, respiratory damage and other health problems -- is suggested by numerous peer-reviewed studies.
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