Polluters Insist on More Mountaintop Mining Pollution in Exchange for Budget Deal

Outrageous. Instead of getting serious about settling the budget crisis before a government shutdown, comfortable politicians are sitting in Washington, DC and threatening to undermine all the work being done to protect Central Appalachia as a favor to polluters.

A landscape visibly ravaged as our lawmakers look the other way. (Photo credit: Vivian Stockman)

Specifically, members of Congress want to block funding for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to tighten water quality protections for mountaintop coal mining. Others want to prevent EPA from issuing clean water permits for mountaintop removal projects. And still others want to prohibit the Interior Department from using government money to write new rules that would protect streams from mountaintop coal mining waste.

I wonder, those who are advocating for the coal companies, are they able to drink water from their faucets at their in-district home? Can they take quiet strolls through valleys where streams still flow, where houses still stand? Can they visit their family cemeteries that are built on the hillside (as is customary in Central Appalachia) without getting formal permission from the coal companies? Can they take their children and grandchildren fishing on the weekend to a stream that’s not filled with toxic pollutants?

Polluters have sliced off the tops of mountains to obtain dirty fuel without regard for the health or safety of the communities or landscapes that surround them. (Photo credit: Vivian Stockman)

Government has an important role to play to protect those who are at the front lines of dirty industries. Federal agencies like the EPA are required to ensure that all Americans can drink the water that comes out of their faucets, and can breathe the air without getting sick. They are required to hold companies accountable and to demand that they operate as good neighbors and put profits second to protecting public health and our environment.
Coal companies have found enough friends in Congress who are willing to shut down the entire federal government so they can avoid even the most basic, essential restrictions on how they conduct themselves.

I ask Congress, take a trip to Central Appalachia, talk to residents. If you go with eyes wide open, you will see that it’s time for government to step in and protect local communities and their surrounding mountains and streams.

Take action!  Follow this link to contact your Representative and let him or her know you don’t want to see anti-environmental riders in the budget.