Protect Appalachia’s Water Sources from Mining Pollution

Target: Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator, Lisa P. Jackson

Goal: Establish formal rules for conductivity standards in water to ensure safety.

Raccoon Creek in Kentucky is surrounded by three different mountaintop operations. Years ago, it was known for the taste and the quantity of fish that inhabited its waters. Now, pollutants have raised the conductivity level of the water to such a degree that no aquatic life can survive.

After various studies, the EPA issued guidance on the acceptable levels of conductivity in stream water. Due to the continuous flow of heavy metals and other pollutants released in the mountaintop removal process, the conductivity of the water at Raccoon Creek is over 11 times that which the EPA has deemed safe. The water has turned into an environmental hazard, poisonous to fish, aquatic mammals and humans.

Despite scientific evidence and many families’ personal testimonies, a court sided with the coal industry recently and discarded the EPA’s guidelines for mountaintop removal, claiming they were not an official rule. The EPA has the power to appeal the courts decision and enforce its water pollution policies to protect the lives of Appalachian people and wildlife.

Sign the petition below to urge the EPA to create formal rules to establish water quality standards and protect streams from one of the most environmentally destructive practices in the country.


Dear Lisa Jackson,

To begin, I would like to express my appreciation for the fact that your agency has listened to scientific evidence on the environmentally destructive effects of mountaintop removal surface mining in Appalachia. The new policies you have adopted could effective prevent the pollution of streams and other natural water sources. Yet a court has managed to overturn the EPAs initiatives and block policies that ensure protection from mining, claiming they were only “guidelines.”

As such, I urge you to take the steps to make your water pollution policies and conductivity standards official. While you begin the formal rule-making process to make water quality standards legally defensible, you must appeal the most recent court decision refusing to take safe conductivity standards into account. The EPA has appealed courts’ decisions before. Now it is more important than ever to establish and enforce strong water quality standards to protect streams, aquatic life and people from the devastating effects of mountaintop removal.


[Your Name Here]

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