Protest Judge’s Decision to Allow Coal Mining in West Virginia

Mountain top removal

Target: Federal Judge Amy Jackson

Goal: To protest the judge’s decision to open up the Spruce No. 1 Coal Mine and destroy the surrounding environment.

United States’ Environmental Protection Agency—the name clearly indicates that this organization is designed to protect the environment. So the EPA was doing its job when it vetoed plans for the Spruce No. 1 coal mine, the largest mountain top removal operation ever proposed in West Appalachia. But federal Judge Amy Jackson claims that the EPA  “exceeded its authority” by doing so, meaning that the EPA’s efforts to stop mountain top removal have been defeated and reversed.

The EPA originally rejected the plans for the Spruce No. 1 coal mine by claiming that mountain top removal would cause great amounts of water pollution. This claim isn’t unfounded. Liquid waste from coal mines is stored in giant pools, often near the heads of important watersheds. These pools contain arsenic, mercury, all of the debris left from coal mining, and multiple carcinogens. In some cases, the barriers keeping the pools intact have failed—creating toxic mud slides that can bury entire towns. The Buffalo Creek Disaster is one such example.

But mountain top removal doesn’t just affect water supplies. It also involves clear cutting large areas of forest and exposing mountain tops to erosion. Valleys nearby are filled with the debris from mountain top explosions. Wildlife populations are devastated. All in the name of feeding our addiction to unsustainable energy resources.

The Spruce No. 1 coal mine is the largest proposed mine in West Appalachia, spanning over two thousand acres. Seven and half miles of streams would be buried in the process. And yet coal corporations claim that the EPA was using “magical thinking” when it rejected the original proposal. The EPA is doing its job, and yet Judge Amy Jackson has revoked their ability to do this. Speak up and let Judge Amy Jackson know that Spruce No. 1 Coal Mine has dangerous consequences for the environment and human health.

Dear Federal Judge Amy Berman Jackson,

Your decision to repeal the United States’ Environmental Protection Agency’s veto of the Spruce No. 1 Coal Mine has devastating consequences for the environment. Not only would the Spruce No. 1 Coal Mine pollute waterways, which is the reason the EPA rejected the proposal in the first place, but it would also lead to deforestation. Over two thousand acres of temperate rainforest would be destroyed in order to make room for this mine. Logan County is already one of the most heavily mined areas in West Virginia—allowing this mine to exist would just cause even more problems.

In terms of water pollution, the EPA was correct when it vetoed Spruce No. 1 Coal Mine’s water permits. Liquid waste from coal mines is stored in giant pools, often near the heads of important watersheds. These pools contain arsenic, mercury, all of the debris left from coal mining, and multiple carcinogens. In some cases, the barriers keeping the pools intact have failed—creating toxic mud slides that can bury entire towns. The Buffalo Creek Disaster is one such example. The Spruce No. 1 Coal Mine would bury seven and half miles worth of stream beds, most of them near important watersheds. And this isn’t counting the areas where the liquid wastes can be stored.

Please reconsider your decision to revoke the EPA’s rights to protect our environment. The agency was merely doing what it was designed to do—protect the environment and human health.

Sincerely,
[Your Name Here]

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