Tag: mountaintop removal mining

Obama Admin Ends MTR Mining With A Name Change

The Obama administration is at least testing the waters of changing the name of mountaintop removal mining to “Appalachian surface coal mining” or ASCM.  This name change, which neutralizes the horrific visuals of MTR mining, may help Obama gain support for a new policy to reduce the harmful environmental impacts of MTR mining.  

The Obama administration is taking steps that are a “firm departure” from Bush who “failed to protect our communities, water, and wildlife in Appalachia.”  For the first time the government is acknowledging the adverse impacts of MTR mining and will, for example, review the “cumulative impact of valley fill permits on water quality and look at entire watersheds instead of isolated streams.”

However, the question is whether MTR mining should be limited to a policy of environmental impact relativity or do we insist that MTR mining be stopped in obvious recognition that MTR mining by definition violates the environmental rules of law?  

Ending MTR Mining With Change That Works

Mountaintop removal mining dumps tons of waste into streams and eco systems that are literally killed by suffocation. Mining companies claim their euphemistic “valley fills” are an industry necessity because it would be too expensive to pay for waste disposal. If Congress outlaws “valley fills,” it would help stop MTR mining, which causes massive environmental disasters and violates human rights.

A clear definition of “fill material,” which affects what can be discharged into our waters, can be used to stop “valley fills”. The government admitted that the Corps’ definition prohibited valley fills. The EPA later adopted a definition to allow valley fills. The inconsistency and confusion between these two rules was seized as cover to issue permits for valley fills. After environmental groups obtained injunctive relief against MTR mining based on the Corps’ definition, Bush changed the law. Bush’s definition of fill material is based on the EPA rule. The problem with HR 1310 is that it is based on the same rule used by the EPA and Bush. Instead of clarity, we have muddy waters ripe for more years of litigation delaying the end of MTR.

Take Action: Wind Farms Can Save Mountain

Do you prefer wind turbines to scarred mountaintops? A new study shows that some mountains in Appalachia are prime resources for wind energy.  During the transitional stage from coal to clean energy, traditional subterranean mining can occur simultaneously with wind farms that provide sustainable environmental and economic benefits not possible with MTR.  

For years, defensive strategies were used to oppose MTR mining. Now we have offensive measures. An environmental group commissioned a study by Wind Logics firm to determine viability of wind farms replacing MTR in Appalachia. Coal River Mountain Watch (CRMW) is working with a Coal River Wind campaign to achieve that goal.

There is a mountaintop that would make a great wind farm, but a mining company wants to raze the mountain with MTR, which will preclude wind farms forever.  We only have days to stop this insanity, so we need your help.