Last week, as the new Congress debated the federal budget, several members decided to seize the opportunity to score some goodies for Big Coal.
Rep. John Yarmouth defends the mountains of Kentucky
on the floor of the House of Representatives.
In the wee hours of Friday night, the House passed amendments designed to give a green light to new mountaintop removal mines and cut funding to the EPA, annihilating the agency’s ability to work on critical issues like coal ash. These revenue-neutral amendments do nothing to reduce the federal budget deficit, and were designed solely to prevent the EPA and other government agencies from enforcing clean air and clean water laws, even with a majority of Americans expressing firm support for the agency.
Your support has made it possible for us to maintain a steady drumbeat in the halls of Congress, helping educate decision makers and enabling us to bring ordinary citizens to Washington, D.C., to tell their personal stories of fouled water and lost mountains. And we will continue working to defeat these amendments in the Senate and ensure a Presidential veto.
The coal industry may be defiant and determined to proceed on an unregulated and reckless path, but with the help of people like you, we can stop them in their tracks.
For the mountains,
Federal and State Legislation Threatens Our Waterways
Bills in the U.S. Congress as well as the state of Virginia seek to undermine the protection of our waterways and citizens from mountaintop removal coal mining. Here is the rundown:
Congress hits below the money belt:
Last week, Congressional representatives in the U.S. House voted on several amendments to the federal budget bill which would prevent the EPA and other agencies from enforcing coal-related clean water regulations (reps have also introduced these amendments as stand-alone bills in the house). Due to your efforts, we have the momentum needed to defeat these amendments in the Senate. [ See how your rep voted and send them a message ]
Virginia Senate's assault on water: The Virginia State Senate recently passed legislation to restrict the state’s ability to use water quality testing to monitor discharges from coal strip mines. Virginia already suffers high levels of toxic metals below mine sites, declines in stream life and higher levels of heart, lung and kidney disease in the regions closest to mountaintop removal operations. [ Get the full story ]
The Kentucky Energy and Environment Cabinet has a new partner in their proposed settlement with the two largest coal companies: We the People. State Judge Shepherd granted the Appalachian Voices legal team—representing the interests of Kentuckians—limited intervention into the settlement. This in turn has pushed the Cabinet to the Court of Appeals, seeking to block our right to intervene. [ Confused yet? Read the whole story ]
(More work Appalachian Voices is doing to save mountains)
Eric Chance, Assistant Upper Watauga Riverkeeper, talks to the Boone Town Council and Planning Commission.
Sealing the Deal on Harmful Asphalt Sealants: Thanks to tireless efforts by our Upper Watauga Riverkeeper team, the town of Boone, N.C.—the site of a coal tar-based asphalt sealant spill last fall that devastated more than a mile of aquatic stream life—passed strict new regulations aimed to limit the impacts of this seriously harmful product.
Safety First in Appalachia’s Coal Mines: Coal mining is a dangerous occupation and workers deserve the safest work environment we can provide. That's why Appalachian Voices recently signed on to support new Mine Safety legislation in the U.S. Senate which would improve working conditions for coal miners.