Front Porch Blog

Appalachian Voices, Prairie Rivers Network, and Environmental Integrity Project team up in IL

By Kate Finneran
Appalachian Voices National Field Coordinator, 2011-12

An overwhelming number of Illinois Representatives in Congress are voting to strip US residents of the only clean water protection they have. Most have voted in support of the Dirty Water Bill (H.R. 2018), a bill that would gut the Clean Water Act by giving states, rather than the EPA, the ultimate decision-making authority over our nation’s water quality standards. This would spell disaster in states where mountaintop removal coal mining is practiced, as seen by the states’ poor record on permitting and enforcement.

So we teamed up with Prairie Rivers Network and the Environmental Integrity Project to call out Reps in IL who are voting to further degrade water quality in the US. More specifically, we paid Tea Party Representative Adam Kinzinger a visit to his in district office. Not only has he been voting to take away power from the EPA, but he has a toxic coal ash pond miles from his office that has contaminated his constituent’s drinking water. This problem has been left at the wayside by the Governor’s office, and yet Kinzinger is voting away the only protection his constituents have left.

Citizens gather outside Kinzinger's district office in Joliet, IL

Citizens ranging in age from 3- 79 rallied outside Kinzinger’s office holding signs that read, ‘Honk for Clean Water’, ‘Let the EPA do its job!’, and ‘Coal Ash Kills.’ Following the rally, we marched into his office and demanded a meeting. “The Congressman owes an explanation to his constituents as to why he is voting to pollute their drinking water,” said one resident to the scheduler. Dozens then requested personal meetings with the Representative while he is in district.

While Tea Party Representatives and their friends are slamming the EPA, citizens in coal mining affected states overwhelmingly support the Clean Water Act, and want to see even more steps taken to protect the health and water supply of all Americans.

These polls give us great leverage to demand that our elected officials follow their moral compass, follow the science, and follow regional and national public opinion by ending mountaintop removal. Please take a moment to write your congressperson about this poll to make sure that they see these figures.

For clean water and communities,

Kate Finneran





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