Keep Millions of Tons of Mountaintop Mining Waste Out of Our Waterways

  • by: Care2
  • recipient: U.S. Congress
Watch Woody Harrelson speak out against mountaintop removal:
Since 1977, The Clean Water Act allowed industries to dump small amounts of "fill material" into waterways as long as they were not using them as a place to dispose of industry waste. But in 2002, the Bush Administration redefined "fill material" to include mining waste, which means that mining companies can dump the mountains they are destroying directly in to our streams and rivers!

Across the Appalachian coalfields, more than 1,200 miles of streams are now buried and destroyed by mountaintop removal. In West Virginia, more than 400,000 acres have been leveled. And mountaintop removal mining has destroyed roughly one million acres of Appalachia's mountains!

The Clean Water Protection Act, a bill that will soon be introduced by Representatives Frank Pallone and Christopher Shays, reestablishes the original intent of the Clean Water Act. Send this letter to your Representatives and tell them to help keep millions of tons of mountaintop debris out of our waterways!
Dear [Representative name],

I am writing to ask you to become an original co-sponsor of the Clean Water Protection Act. This bill is critical for protecting the nation's waters from being polluted and buried by waste created during 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 nearby streams in order to get at coal seams that lie deep beneath the surface. Already, more than 1,000 miles of Appalachian streams have been destroyed by mountaintop removal mining operations.

For 25 years, the Clean Water Act (CWA) allowed for the granting of permits to place "fill material" into waters of the United States, provided that the primary purpose of the "filling" was not for waste disposal. As such, the CWA 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 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 1,000 miles of Appalachian streams.

To stop this devastation of the nation's waterways, Representatives Frank Pallone and Christopher Shays have introduced the Clean Water Protection Act - a simple piece of legislation that restores the original intent of the Clean Water Act to clarify that fill material cannot be comprised of mining waste.

Passing this legislation would protect all of the nation's rivers, streams and lakes from being used as 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 the drinking water supply of many eastern cities and a unique and valuable American culture that has endured for generations.

[Your comment here]

Please join Representatives Frank Pallone and Christopher Shays in becoming an original co-sponsor of the Clean Water Protection Act. Thank you for your attention to this important issue.
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