Friday, May 04, 2007

Clean Water Protection Act

News on a piece of legislation that could significantly impact the practice of Mountain Top Removal Mining. Read on:

House lawmakers offer bill to target coal mining companies
by Lucy Kafanov, Greenwire reporter

Reps. Frank Pallone (D-N.J.) and Christopher Shays (R-Conn.) introduced legislation yesterday to limit the amount of industrial waste entering the nation's waters.

According to Earthjustice, the "Clean Water Protection Act" seeks to overturn a 2002 rule change by the Army Corps of Engineers and U.S. EPA that allows coal mining companies to "create enormous valley fills, burying thousands of miles of streams, to make the practice of mountaintop removal mining cheaper." The group said that the rule change allows other industries to dump waste in waters under the guise of renaming the waste material as 'fill.'

Calling the issue a "serious environmental justice concern," Pallone said in a statement that the "federal government should ... not give massive mining companies a free pass to dump fill into waterways."

Added Shays: "It is my hope this legislation signals to the EPA that Congress will not sit silently by as our environment is destroyed."

More than 1,200 miles of streams already have been destroyed in Appalachia as a result of coal mining operations, according to Earthjustice.

"Nothing is more inconsistent with the goal of the Clean Water Act -- which is intended to protect and preserve the health of our nation's waters -- than allowing mining companies and other industries to bury streams, rivers, lakes, and wetlands under enormous piles of waste and debris," said Joan Mulhern, an attorney for Earthjustice. "The Clean Water Protection Act would reverse this travesty and restore sense to our clean water laws."

Related Links:
Legislative Info on Thomas

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