Counteracting Coal's Dirty Tricks

Posted by Tom Cormons | April 18, 2014 at 9:00 pm


The coal industry is up to its old trick. But with your help, we're working to make sure they backfire.

The coal industry is up to its old trick. But with your help, we’re working to make sure they backfire.

The coal industry is up to its old tricks. But with your help, Appalachian Voices and our allies are working to make sure they backfire.

Just a month after a federal court threw out the Bush administration’s flawed 2008 stream buffer zone rule, the industry’s allies in the U.S. House passed a bill in March to reinstate this egregiously permissive rule that allows coal companies to dump mountaintop removal waste in streams with little regard for water quality impacts.

We acted quickly to undermine what symbolic success that legislation, H.R. 2824, would ultimately have. While we never expected to stop the bill from passing the unabashedly anti-environmental House, our efforts helped to narrow the margin and bridge the partisan divide that pervades Congress.

In the weeks leading up to the vote, a coalition including Appalachian Voices had Capitol Hill covered. We attended dozens of meetings to educate House members and ensure the truth about mountaintop removal was the message of the day. Sure enough, when the bill was debated on the House floor, opponents of mountaintop removal stood and spoke for the health and well-being of Appalachian communities.

We’re not going to let the coal industry take us backward by making an end-run around the court’s decision. And if this bill goes to the Senate, we’re confident that—with your help—we can defeat it. The White House even issued a veto threat, rightfully questioning why industry-backed representatives would want to “waste significant taxpayer dollars adopting a rule that has been vacated by a federal court” noting that the Office of Surface Mining is developing an updated Stream Protection Rule that it says will address the threats mining waste poses to water quality, wildlife habitat and communities downstream.

But here’s the kicker: by showing how far it’s willing to go to make mountaintop removal easy, the coal industry did its part in stoking stronger public and congressional support for clean water. Now it’s up to us to build on this support and pressure on the Obama administration to develop a Stream Protection Rule that protects Appalachian streams from mining waste.

Read Thom Kay’s blog post for a snapshot of floor speeches, both the good and bad, on H.R. 2824.



6 Responses

  1. Lois Shubert says:

    There too many accidents caused by mountain top removal. Creeks are filled up and some homes are destroyed . And the coal companies do not make the site the same as it was prior to their removal of the coal.

  2. MaryAnn Koch says:

    It is imparative that we stop the defacing and poluting of our planet. We have allowed selfish, uncaring people build their wealth, at an extreme cost to others. All people need CLEAN water, HEALTHY air. We borrow from our children. If we are not good stewards of the land, what will be there for next generations?

  3. Grace Neff says:

    I think the Appalachia residents should have the final say about the water they rely on, not the Coal Companies or Congress who have little interest in water quality as they do not live in the vicinity and don’t have to depend on it being free from pollution.

  4. Mike Weaver says:

    So, as you Lefties bash fossil fuels all the time, do you feel like hypocrites each day driving down the highways in your SUVs, carrying your lunch in a plastic bag, and keeping your house warm with the help of natural gas? You should, because you are.

    I’ll eagerly await your response.

    Thanks.

  5. […] Many groups have been working hard as state legislature seasons wrap up. On the national level, we worked to fight off a bad bill that would allow coal companies to dump coal waste into our mountain streams with little regard for […]

  6. […] Appalachian streams this winter, when the Office of Surface Mining is scheduled to release a draft Stream Protection Rule to replace the outdated Stream Buffer Zone rule promulgated more than 30 years […]

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