Thursday, March 26, 2009

Great News from the EPA about Mountaintop Removal

On March 24, the EPA decided to halt some new mountaintop removal projects because of their impact on water: streams, lakes and drinking water. In a news release EPA Acts to Reduce Harmful Impacts from Coal Mining they state:

The United States Environmental Protection Agency has sent two letters to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers expressing serious concerns about the need to reduce the potential harmful impacts on water quality caused by certain types of coal mining practices, such as mountaintop mining. The letters specifically addressed two new surface coal mining operations in West Virginia and Kentucky. EPA also intends to review other requests for mining permits.
They appear to have updated the EPA web page on Mountaintop Removal as well.

This is fantastic news! Maybe we can see the end of coal in this country. The website I Love Mountains, a major hub for activity against mountain top removal, is ecstatic!

The latest Sierra magazine has an article Killing King Coal about how some local activists stopped the construction of the Holcomb Station power plant near Garden City, Kansas. As a sidebar to the article, there is an excellent timeline about the use of coal in this country. The last two entries are:

2003 Bush funds the FutureGen Alliance's "clean coal" carbon capture and storage project. Its funding was decreased in 2004, reinstated in 2005, and cut completely in 2008.
2008 Barack Obama is elected president. During the campaign, he supported "clean coal" and the construction of five new carbon capture and storage coal plants.
Let us hope that the next entry reports that President Obama has realized the destruction coal costs neighbors, habitats and the earth.

Another short article in Sierra It Takes a Little Village tells about a young organizer Marisol Becerra, cofounder of Young Activists Organizing as Today's Leaders, from the Little Village district of Chicago. She was incensed at the health problems caused by

two coal-fired power plants in Little Village and nearby Pilsen, ... responsible for 41 premature deaths, 550 emergency-room visits, and 2,800 asthma attacks per year, according to a 2002 Harvard School of Public Health report.
The future will definitely be brighter when we work together to stop coal and dirty oil, replacing them with energy efficiency and renewables.

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