Skip to content

EPA to re-evaluate mountaintop removal coal mining

September 4, 2009

The voices of the thousands of Appalachians living with contaminated drinking water have finally been amplified over the past several days with a long-overdue announcement about halting mountaintop removal permits from the EPA and a widely-discussed New York Times story on Sunday about the devastating effects of coal-tainted water.

Goldman Prize recipients Maria Gunnoe (2009) and Judy Bonds (2003), well-known advocates fighting against mountaintop removal coal mining in the Eastern United States, have both spoken out in support of the Obama administration’s new commitment to reviewing mining permits granted in the Bush years. The review process will seek to establish, via thorough scientific testing, whether or not the proposed projects threaten regional water supplies in violation of the Clean Water Act.  Considering that the very act of mountaintop removal, which entails blasting off the tops of mountains and pushing the heavy metal-laden rubble into neighboring valleys, has been shown to bury streams and seep dangerous chemicals into groundwater supplies, it is likely that the permits will not be approved.  This prospect represents a major victory for everyone that has campaigned ceaselessly to help stop this destructive mining practice.

On the heels of the EPA announcement, an in-depth article in the New York Times, “Clean Water Laws Are Neglected, at a Cost in Suffering,” offers new insights into public drinking water supply contamination.  Citing mining waste as well as chemical dumping and emissions from industry as key polluters, the article provides an excellent examination of the many factors, including the shortfalls in the regulatory systems, contributing to the degradation of US drinking water supplies.

US cracks down on mountaintop coal-mine permits [Reuters]

Toxic Waters – Clean Water Laws are Neglected, at a Cost in Suffering [New York Times]

Related Posts

Stopping the Spill: How Oil Is Changing Our Earth

August 22, 2022 – By Jacqueline Kehoe

News headlines every few years can leave the impression that oil spills are rare, one-off events, like BP’s Deepwater Horizon spill in 2010 or the 1989 Exxon Valdez disaster. In reality, they happen constantly: Over 700 million gallons of waste oil reach the ocean every year, destroying entire ecosystems and communities. Beyond its role in…

Read more

Indigenous Communities: Protectors of our Forests

August 8, 2022 – By Jacqueline Kehoe

It has now become widely understood in environmental circles that Indigenous groups around the world are often the best stewards of land conservation because of their longstanding cultural, spiritual, and physical connections to their territories. August 9, is UN International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples, a day that recognizes the unique role of Indigenous…

Read more

In Your Backyard: Urban Oil Extraction

June 13, 2022 – By Jacqueline Kehoe

For many Americans, oil drilling doesn’t feel like a hometown issue—it’s the concern of far-off places, from 2010’s BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico to Alaska’s Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. “Urban oil extraction” can even sound like a myth. In reality, it’s happening in our own backyards. Once the first US oil well…

Read more