Don’t Build Prison in Highly Polluted Area

Target: EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy

Goal: Halt plan to build prisons in area contaminated from mountaintop removal mining and gas drilling.

Thousands of prisoners could be exposed to contaminated air and water if a plan to build a prison in an area that’s already been devastated by mountaintop removal mining and natural gas drilling goes ahead. Despite the fact that these methods of energy source extraction are notorious for poisoning the water around them, the EPA does not appear to care at all for the health of prisoners.

Mountaintop removal mining in particular uses chemicals that increase the risk of cancer, birth defects, and heart disease, yet the federal government is prepared to build a prison for 1,200 people on the site of a former mine. Prisons have already come under fire for failing to provide decent food, safe water, and a general environment that does not threaten the health of inmates. Prisoners are making up for their crimes by being imprisoned–they don’t deserve to be poisoned and given cancer via contaminated water.

The EPA needs to step up and protect the prisoners who can’t protect themselves and whom no one seems to care about. Prisoners are still people who are entitled having their basic needs met. They’re supposed to be rehabilitated, not made sick. Sign our petition to demand that the EPA acts to stop this prison from being built on poisoned ground.


Dear Administrator McCarthy,

The federal government currently has plans to build a prison for 1,200 people in Letcher, Kentucky on top of a site of mountaintop removal mining and natural gas drilling. Both of these have contaminated the area’s water sources with chemicals that increase the risk of things like cancer, birth defects, and heart disease in humans. If a prison is built here, there’s no doubt that the prisoners will be exposed to these poisons.

Prisoners are people. They may have made mistakes and done wrong, but they still deserve the basic human right of clean water free of chemicals that can make them severely sick and even cause death. They’re already being punished. Don’t ignored their plight and let the government expose them to poisons in a way you would never accept for non-imprisoned citizens.

You’ve thus far appeared to ignore the proposal to build this prison. Please don’t abandon the humans who will be housed here to potentially deadly health problems. Do your job and launch an investigation into the area and intervene with the plans for the prison if the chemical levels in the water are unacceptable for consumption.


[Your Name Here]

Photo credit: Gustavo Veríssimo

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One Comment

  1. sandra mason says:

    somehow this seems like the perfect place.

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