End Mining Companies’ Destruction of Appalachia

Miner and his daughter

Target: Chairman Doug Lamborn of the U.S. House Subcommittee on Energy and Mineral Resources

Goal: Protect families impacted by mountaintop removal mining and urge the swift passage of the Appalachian Community Health Emergency Act

Mining has been a way of life in Appalachia for generations. The industry’s scars are visible on the faces of the land and its people. But a particularly destructive form of mining called mountaintop removal has been on the rise in recent years. Communities near mountaintop removal sites are subjected to daily explosions in the hills above their homes, and see sharp increases in deadly health effects such as cancer. Water supplies and air become tainted with the mines’ constant pollution, and the threat of waste containment tanks breaching is ever-present.

Common Dreams reports that “The best way to halt the destruction of Appalachia and its people is through federal passage of the Appalachian Community Health Emergency Act, known as the ACHE Act.” It goes on to explain that “This legislation places a moratorium on new mountaintop removal permits and the expansion of existing permits until the Department of Health and Human Services completes a study to determine whether such mining operations pose a health threat to people living nearby.”

Why hasn’t this critical and common-sense bill already been passed? Since February, 2013 the ACHE Act has been held up with the House Subcommittee on Energy and Mineral Resources. The National Journal has named its Chairman, Congressman Doug Lamborn, the Most Conservative Member of Congress no less than three times. His beliefs on issues of property rights and government regulation put him in direct conflict with any attempt to place limits on mountaintop removal. His voting record shows a clear dedication to advancing the interests of the mining industry.

The people of Appalachia are literally dying to produce dirty coal for the energy industry. Call on Congressman Lamborn quit his stalling and move the ACHE Act forward for a vote.


Dear Congressman Lamborn,

In February, 2013 the Subcommittee on Energy and Mineral Resources was tasked with reviewing the ACHE Act. Although it has essentially languished on your desk since then, prior to this it managed to proceed through three other subcommittees in mere weeks. As Chairman you can be seen as directly responsible for failing to advance this bill.

For generations the people of Appalachia have sacrificed their lands and their health for the benefit of energy companies. Mountaintop removal is particularly destructive. Evidence clearly demonstrates its disastrous effects on human health and the environment: thousands of miles of streams buried in rubble; billions of gallons of toxic waste precariously contained; tens of thousands of cancers linked to mining activities; thousands of mining jobs lost due to the fact that mountaintop removal requires so few people.

The ACHE Act addresses this clear public health emergency, and must be passed. I call on you to do your duty as a representative of the people and immediately move the ACHE Act forward so that it may proceed to a vote.


[Your Name Here]

Photo credit: Jack Corn via NARA

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