Last week, more than 75 people braved single-digit temperatures in Philadelphia, Penn., to call on the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to take action to protect Appalachia from mountaintop removal coal mining. Philadelphia is home to EPA’s Region 3 headquarters which covers Virginia, West Virginia and Pennsylvania, and a handful of other states that do not have surface coal mining.
Activists from Sierra Club, Southern Appalachian Mountain Stewards, Rising Tide, Earth Quaker Action Team (EQAT), The Alliance for Appalachia, Occupy Sandy, Swarthmore Mountain Justice, Protecting Our Waters, and veterans from a Philadelphia Veterans Multi-Service Center all came together to pressure the EPA to take action to protect Appalachian waterways.
Earlier in the day a smaller group of us met with key EPA staff on issues related to the West Virginia chemical spill, the need for federal water quality standards on selenium and conductivity, as well as the proposed Coalfields Expressway in Southwest Virginia.
Despite our frozen toes and red noses, the day was a huge success and it was heartwarming to see so many people come together in the cold. Most notable to me was the collection of groups that came together to make it all happen, many of whom had never worked together before.
This gathering marked the beginning of sustained pressure on regional offices of the EPA being coordinated by groups across Central Appalachia. Until legally binding safeguards are set by EPA, the waters of Appalachia will continue to be polluted by mountaintop removal coal mining.
Please take a moment and sign this petition to EPA to stand up for clean water.