Target: The Environmental Protection Agency
Goal: To stand behind the EPA’s decision to appeal a federal judge’s ruling that would allow a major West Virginia coal mining project to go forward.
In January 2011, the Environmental Protection Agency released its decision to retroactively revoke a permit, granted in 2007 by the Army Corps of Engineers under the Bush administration, which would approve a mountaintop removal coal-mining project in West Virginia. However, District Court Judge Amy Berman Jackson ruled in March that the EPA had overstepped its authority and had resorted to “magical thinking” to justify its decision. Her ruling reinstates the permit and paves the way for the construction of the Spruce no. 1 mine, which will cover 2,278 acres resulting in an estimated 6.6 miles of streams being buried by mining waste.
The EPA recently stated its intent to appeal Judge Jackson’s decision. Under the Clean Water Act, the EPA has the authority to “withdraw” a permit “whenever” it determines a project to be excessively damaging to the environment. Sign the petition below to support the EPA’s decision to appeal Judge Jackson’s decision and to assert the authority of the EPA as it seeks to uphold its role of ensuring that our government acts in the best interest of the environment.
Mountaintop removal coal mining involves blasting off entire mountain peaks in order to expose underlying coal deposits and then dumping the resulting debris into the streambeds below. The effects are devastating not only for the ecosystems that get in the way of the mining operation, but for the residents of local communities as well. According to the Appalachian Community Health Emergency campaign, babies born to mothers who live in areas with mountaintop removal mining have a 26% higher rate of birth defects than babies born in areas that are not directly exposed to the effects of coal mining.
The EPA’s decision to actively oppose the Spruce no. 1 mining project is not only justified under the Clean Water Act, but it is also essential for the continued survival of West Virginia’s mountain ecosystems and communities. By signing the petition below, you will express your support for the agency’s intent to appeal Judge Jackson’s ruling. It is time that the Obama administration demonstrates its commitment to protecting the environment even when that means demanding sacrifices from the fossil fuel industry.
Dear Environmental Protection Agency,
The practice of mountaintop removal mining causes irreparable damage to mountain ecosystems and communities. The Spruce no. 1 mining project in particular would cover 2,278 acres and would result in an estimated 6.6 miles of streams being buried by mining waste.
I would like to express my support for your decision to appeal the ruling of Judge Amy Berman Jackson in which she declared that you overstepped your authority by choosing to revoke the permit allowing for construction of the Spruce no. 1 project. I hope that you will continue to assert your authority and to demonstrate your commitment to preserving the unique Appalachian ecosystems presently facing destruction at the hands of the coal mining industry.
[Your Name Here]