The Clearfork Valley of Tennessee has been intensely surface-mined going back decades. Now, Kopper Glo Mining is moving forward with a nearly 1,500-acre mountaintop removal mine on nearby Cooper Ridge.
The U.S. Department of the Interior ordered the National Academy of Sciences to halt its review of the links between mountaintop removal coal mining and human health impacts.
As expected, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission recently gave a glowing review to the Atlantic Coast Pipeline, overlooking the threats to wetlands, forest, drinking waters and indigenous populations along the pipeline’s proposed route.
A recent report documented numerous instances of agricultural runoff polluting the Shenandoah River with the E. Coli bacteria.
Bills before the West Virginia legislature threaten to diminish mine safety and water quality protections. The measures were proposed by industry groups.
For all my life, the coal economy has ruled this region and its people,” writes Ron Short of Danville, Va., in a letter supporting the Stream Protection Rule. “Now we are facing the demise of the coal industry, and we must save the valuable natural resources that we have left if we are ever to develop cultural tourism and eco-tourism as important parts of a new economy that works for everyone.”
When Congress voted last week to overturn the Stream Protection Rule, people braced themselves for the coming impacts. But threats to public water from corporate and political interests are nothing new in Central Appalachia, nor is the problem unique to this area. In the face of these threats, communities fighting for clean water need our continued support.
On Monday, the U.S. Department of the Interior released the Stream Protection Rule, which aims to protect streams from the impacts of surface and longwall mining. The final rule offers only modest improvements to protections for public waterways, but it is well worth defending from congressional attack.
Wilbur Ross — a man who helmed a large Kentucky coal company with a troubled history of environmental and miner safety violations — has been chosen to be the next U.S. Secretary of Commerce. If President-elect Trump truly believes that economic growth and opportunity can only be gained at the expense of worker safety, community health and clean water, he could make no better pick than Ross.
The Russell Fork River was recently added to American River’s 2016 list of America’s Most Endangered Rivers because of threats from mountaintop coal removal mining.