Studies released late last year leave no doubt of a link between mountaintop-removal coal mining and lung cancer in residents living nearby. But the West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection (WVDEP) has refused to place a moratorium on new permits.
According to Coal River Mountain Watch, part of their WV mountain has already been blasted by Alpha Natural Resources, which has applied for a new permit covering 847 more acres.
A report posted by the watch group accuses the WVDEP of failing to do its job in protecting communities from the serious health hazards associated with mountaintop-removal mining. The state, says CRMW, "lets the mining industry get away with polluting at will."
To make matters worse, the U.S. Office of Surface Mining has failed to intervene so far. This lack of oversight and the growing concern over serious health issues has led to reintroduction of the Appalachian Community Health Emergency Act in Congress (ACHE Act, H.R. 912), which would require a comprehensive federal study and place a moratorium on all new permits.
But until this act is passed, it's important to block permits now under consideration. This petition is URGENT - the comment period for the permit (S300115) ends May 27.
Insist WVDEP do its job and NOT permit Alpha to blast any more of Coal River Mountain!
We, the undersigned, say Appalachian residents have suffered ill effects from mountaintop coal mining far too long already. It is past time to end this most hazardous and polluting mining practice.
People living in communities near this hazardous mining face a “living nightmare,” writes The Hill columnist Allan J. Lichtman. Visit http://thehill.com/blogs/pundits-blog/energy-environment/221998-pass-the-ache-act-and-stop-destroying-appalachia
It’s a place where “explosions rattle the community,” where “Toxic emissions spew into the air and settle into the water supply,” and where “You worry that your children will die prematurely from cancer or brain tumors.”
Even before the blasting begins, the environment is assaulted by the stripping of topsoil and trees. And then later there are billions of gallons of toxic waste stored in dangerous dams that can result in hazardous spills or contamination of the water supply.
Furthermore, says Lichtman, it’s a myth that this type of mining creates more jobs. In fact this most hazardous way of mining is done with a relatively small number of workers and has therefore contributed to the decline in the region’s coal mining jobs.
ACHE’s director Bo Webb told The Hill that "...anyone opposing the ACHE Act is exposing themselves as facilitating the commission of a crime against The People of Appalachia."
And WVDEP is complicit in this crime if it continues to allow permits for mountaintop removal. We insist that WVDEP place a moratorium on all new permits and not allow any more blasting of Coal River Mountain.
Thanks for your time.