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End Mountaintop Removal Now

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As a senator, Barack Obama toured the country asking the public for its vote to send him to the nation’s highest office. On the campaign trail, he said we have to find ways to avoid "simply blowing the tops off mountains."

Mining waste makes mountain streams unsafe for aquatic life and threatens the health of entire Appalachian ecosystems. On top of that, research has shown that people living near mountaintop removal sites have disproportionately higher rates of cancer and birth defects.

A recent Supreme Court victory should spur the Obama administration to more action to protect Appalachian waters and communities. Mountaintop removal mining is still devastating communities, destroying mountains, and harming public health across the region. Communities and families urgently need real protection.

The Obama administration has much more work to do on enforcing the Clean Water Act in this region.

Please tell President Obama you will measure the legacy of his presidency by what he does to end mountaintop removal mining.


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Our Work: Stop Mountaintop Removal Mining Feature: Mountain Heroes


More mountaintop removal vetoes and a water quality standard now!

Dear President Obama, EPA Administrator McCarthy, and CEQ Chair Sutley,

Thank you for your perseverance in defending your veto of the outrageous Spruce No. 1 Mine. The Supreme Court recently affirmed EPA authority under the Clean Water Act. This should spur you to more action to stop mountaintop removal mining pollution.

I urge you to use this Clean Water Act authority to veto more mountaintop removal mine permits--because every permit is a violation of the Clean Water Act. One veto is simply not enough.

I also urge you to take immediate action to promulgate a numeric water quality standard under Clean Water Act section 303(c)(4) to protect streams below mountaintop removal and other coal mines in Kentucky, Tennessee, Virginia, and West Virginia from mining pollution and harmful levels of conductivity, and to ensure that the standard is fully implemented in those states.

A federal water quality standard for conductivity (or an appropriate, related parameter to address ionic stress) would build on the work EPA did over the past four years and provide the greatest immediate protection for waters and communities. EPA has already developed a strong body of science that demonstrates that mountaintop removal mining is having an "extreme ecological effect" on Appalachian waters and streams.

Unfortunately, EPA's approach thus far has not solved the problem, and EPA needs to issue a binding rule. The problem demands a federal water quality standard in the four Appalachian states with surface coal mining pollution.

Only the publication of a federal numeric water quality standard under section 303(c)(4) of the Clean Water Act for Kentucky, Tennessee, Virginia, and West Virginia will ensure that EPA's commitment to follow the science will have a lasting impact. Solving the ionic pollution problem by setting protective federal water quality standards on conductivity (or an appropriate, related parameter) in Appalachia would be a legacy accomplishment for this administration, backed by robust science and widespread public support. I intend to measure President Obama's commitment to the environment based on what EPA does in Appalachia, and whether EPA issues a federal water quality standard that finally protects communities from the grave devastation caused by mountaintop removal mining.

I urge you to begin work immediately and issue a strong, science-based federal water quality standard without delay.

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