SUBJECT: Cosponsor House Bill 1375, the Clean Water Protection Act
Dear [Decision Maker],
I am writing to ask you to become a cosponsor of H.R. 1375, the Clean Water Protection Act. This bill is critical for protecting the nation's waters from being polluted and buried by mountaintop-removal coal mining. Mountaintop-removal mining involves clear-cutting native hardwood forests, blowing up entire mountaintops and dumping millions of tons of debris into streams in order to get to the coal seams that lie deep beneath the surface.
Already more than 2,000 miles of Appalachian streams have been destroyed by mountaintop-removal mining operations.
For 25 years the Clean Water Act allowed permits to place "fill material" into waters in the United States, provided that the primary purpose of the filling was not for waste disposal. As such, the Act prohibited mountaintop-removal operations from using the nation's waterways as waste-disposal sites.
That changed in 2002 when the Army Corps of Engineers, under the direction of the second Bush administration, and without congressional approval, altered its longstanding definition of "fill material" to include mining waste. This change accelerated the devastating practice of mountaintop-removal coal mining and the destruction of more than 500 Appalachian peaks.
To stop burying U.S. waterways, Reps. Frank Pallone (D-N.J.), Dave Reichert (R-Wash.) and John Yarmuth (D-Ky.) have introduced the Clean Water Protection Act -- a simple piece of legislation that restores the original intent of the Clean Water Act to exclude mining waste from the definition of "fill material."
Passing this legislation would protect all U.S. rivers, streams and lakes from becoming garbage dumps for mining waste. It would also help end the destruction of the Appalachian Mountains, home to our nation's most diverse forests and streams, the headwaters of drinking-water supplies for many eastern cities and a unique culture that has endured for generations.
Please join scores of other representatives who have already sponsored the Clean Water Protection Act. I look forward to hearing from you on this important issue.