From The Understory
Today RAN and our friends in DC dumped 1,000 pounds of Appalachian dirt onto the front lawn at the EPA’s headquarters. Our message? “EPA: don’t let King Coal dump on Appalachia.” This is part of our effort to compel the agency to veto the 2,278-acre Spruce mountaintop mine project in Blair, W.Va., which is the largest mountaintop mine project ever proposed.
With mountaintop removal becoming increasingly controversial, the Spruce 1 battle is being closely watched as a bellweather for the mining practice’s future. As we see it, vetoing the Spruce mine is a critical nail in mountaintop removal’s coffin. So far, the EPA has asserted that the Spruce mine project would irrevocably damage streams and wildlife and violate the Clean Water Act. However, just last week the Obama administration announced that it would delay making a decision on whether to veto the Spruce mine project until late September. Our fear is that pressure from the coal industry and coal state politicians may be influencing the administration’s decision during the election season.
That is why last Friday we went down to the coalfields of West Virginia to collect a big old pile of dirt – mud from a forest and mountain that will be sacrificed if the coal industry gets its way with Appalachia. We’ve brought this mud to the EPA’s headquarters to highlight the critical importance of its decision about the Spruce No. 1 coal mining permit.
The Spruce Mine will be the largest mountaintop removal (MTR) site in West Virginia and, if mined as planned, it would bury more than seven miles of headwater streams, directly impact over 2000 acres of forests, and degrade water quality in streams adjacent to the mine.
Thousands of you have already contacted the EPA to demand they issue a full veto on this permit. We’re here today to make sure they haven’t forgotten. You can do the same today by calling EPA Administrator Lisa P. Jackson to ensure her agency stands up to King Coal and on the right side of history.
We’re not going to be quiet about this until MTR is over. We’ll be back in DC later this month, with thousands more friends, as part of Appalachia Rising to call for the end of mountaintop mining.
UPDATE: The activists arrested on site have been charged with “illegal dumping.” In response, Rising Tide commented on facebook, “so it’s illegal to dump dirt on the EPA but not into Appalachia drinking water?”