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Demand protections from the dangers of mountaintop removal mining before it’s too late

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We can’t wait any longer. The Obama administration has promised stronger rules on mountaintop removal coal mining, which has already flattened 500 mountains, obliterated 2,000 miles of streams and erased 2.5 million acres of Appalachia’s ancient forests. Mountaintop removal has been linked to cancer, birth defects and other serious human health problems.

To make matters worse, coal companies often try to walk away from their legal obligations, leaving reclamation unfinished and the health, well-being and economies of local communities in ruins.

The Obama administration’s Stream Protection Rule has been in the works for seven years. It will require more testing and monitoring for water pollution, new stream protections and better reclamation practices. But now the rule is stalled at the finish line. Tell the Obama administration to finish what it started and issue a strong Stream Protection Rule before leaving office.

Coal company after coal company has filed for bankruptcy in recent years, often trying to escape their environmental and other obligations. In the wake of coal’s financial collapse, the Department of Interior has finally recognized that current rules allowing companies to “self-bond” in lieu of providing firm financial backing for needed reclamation do not work. The Stream Protection Rule includes much-needed improvements that can help end this cycle by requiring coal companies to put in place financial assurances so that essential stream restoration and reclamation is actually accomplished. Finalizing this rule is a critical first step to finally holding coal companies financially accountable for the harm they have caused, so they can’t just abandon devastated communities.

There is so much work to be done to remedy and prevent further devastation to the environment, health and economies of communities that have borne the brunt of coal mining impacts. The Obama administration must do its part right now by finalizing a strong Stream Protection Rule. Now is the time to give the people of Appalachia and others around the country the protections that were promised when the president first took office.

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Your message:

Demand protections from the dangers of mountaintop removal mining before it's too late

Dear Secretary Jewell, Director Pizarchik and Managing Director Goldfuss,



Thank you for your recent recognition of the need to overhaul regulations on self-bonding that have failed to protect communities and the environment, and for acknowledging your responsibility to ensure that coal companies do not evade reclamation and other environmental obligations. It is essential for the Obama administration to exercise leadership now to protect communities that have been devastated by the impacts of coal mining, and are hurt even more when companies too often become financially insolvent and attempt to walk away from their reclamation obligations.

The Obama administration has promised to issue strong rules for mountaintop removal mining since early in the president's first term. Now is your chance to follow through! I urge you to finalize a strong Stream Protection Rule this year.

The Stream Protection Rule is an essential opportunity to secure stronger protections for communities in Appalachia and across the country from the devastating impacts of surface coal mining. It also represents a small but important first step toward preventing insolvent coal companies from mining without adequate guarantees that they will meet all stream protection and reclamation obligations to coal-affected communities. These are important, necessary improvements to current regulations that should not be left unfinished.

I urge you to keep your promise to the communities of Appalachia by finalizing a strong Stream Protection Rule before it is too late.

Sincerely,

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