Stop Mining Companies from Dumping Toxic Waste into our Rivers and Lakes

Target:  Nancy Sutley, Chair of the White House Council on Environmental Quality

Goal: Prevent mining companies from dumping toxic waste directly into waterways.

In 2002 the Bush Administration helped establish a loophole in the Clean Water Act which allows mining companies to pour often-toxic runoff into lakes and streams; this loophole still exists today and was recently fortified by a Supreme Court ruling.  There are countless challenges to the integrity and sustainability of our water supply, and it is imperative that we take the necessary steps to reduce the human impact we have on them.  We must urge the Council on Environmental Quality to fight the Supreme Court ruling so that mining companies are required to responsibly dispose of their generated waste.

The specific language of the Clean Water Act, as amended by the Bush Administration in 2002, redefined the term “fill” to include industrial waste generated by mining operations.  In June 2011, the Supreme Court ruled that “fill” could be dumped, untreated, into our domestic waterways.  After several decades of successfully disposing of mining waste in a responsible and environmentally-conscious manner, the new ruling essentially gives mining facilities a green light to dispose of waste in the most convenient and efficient way, regardless of the environmental consequences.

This Clean Water Act loophole must be changed to protect the integrity of our waterways.  Mining companies themselves can hardly be expected to take the extra steps to responsibly dispose of waste on their own volition; the law must require that they do so to catalyze a widespread change in the industry.


Dear Ms. Sutley,

The mining industry has successfully operated for years without overtly dumping their waste into our streams and lakes.  However, the Supreme Court’s recent ruling allows “fill” – a term which the Bush Administration redefined to include toxic mining waste – to be exempted from certain Clean Water Act regulations so that it may be dumped directly into our waters without treatment or regulatory oversight.

This loophole in the Clean Water Act must be amended.  The environmental impacts of allowing toxic mining waste to be dumped into streams and lakes are catastrophic, damaging ecosystems and wildlife beyond repair.

I urge you to take action in reversing the ruling, making mining companies responsible for disposing their waste in a conscientious way, and ensuring that our precious water resources face one less threat to their integrity and sustainability.


[Your Name Here]

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One Comment

  1. We should ban commercial surface mining outright and use robot mole shaft mining to minimise our impact on the environment, and use tailings and other mine waste to backfill depleted seams so it doesn’t pollute the land while minerals are extracted. We should cease defecating in our sleeping spots…

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