from the facebook page of climate ground zero’s mike roselle:
HARMFUL MTR POLICY INTENSIFIES A PUBLIC HEALTH CRISIS
What it does: This rider ( Division D, Title I, Section 115) restricts the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers from using funds to develop, adopt implement, administer, or enforce any change to regulations pertaining to the definitions of the terms “fill material” or “discharge of fill material” under the Clean Water Act.
Why it matters: A 2002 rulemaking by EPA and the Corps of Engineers altered the definition of “fill material” under the Clean Water Act to include waste disposal, clearing the way the way for industrial mining operations to turn our vital streams and rivers into industrial waste dumps called “valley fills.” This rider would lock in this loophole, allowing industry to keep dumping industrial waste in rivers and streams and polluting entire watersheds.
Under the Bush Administration, the definition of “fill material” in the Clean Water Act was changed to allow mountaintop mining operators the use of streams and rives as “fill” dumps for their toxic mining waste
A single valley fill can be as big as 250 million cubic yards
The recent Elk River chemical spill in West Virginia that has left hundreds of thousands without water has rightfully grabbed national attention. However, the people of Appalachia have suffered from water pollution caused by mountaintop removal coal mining for decades and rather than trying to help, Congress seeks to double down on giving Big Coal free reign to poison our communities with this appropriations rider
Mining waste contains toxic chemicals known to pose health risks to humans and aquatic animals. Continuing the practice of dumping this waste into our nation’s streams and rivers is dangerous and irresponsible.
EPA estimates that 120 miles per year of headwater streams are buried with the chemical-laden discharge as a result of surface mining operations under existing definitions of “fill.”
As of 2006, there were more than 6,600 valley fills spanning more than 91,000 square miles in West Virginia, Virginia, Kentucky, and Tennessee
Already more than 22% of all the rivers and streams in Southern West Virginia are impaired by mountaintop removal mining pollution.
A 2008 EPA study found evidence that mining activities have subtle to severe impacts on downstream aquatic life and the biological conditions of a stream. That study found that nine out of every 10 streams downstream from surface mining operations were impaired based on a genus-level assessment of aquatic life
Chemicals associated with MTR mining – the same chemicals in valley fills – have been shown to pose developmental and reproductive risks, including:
o Heritable gene mutations
o Mutations in fetal DNA
o Musculoskeletal, gastrointestinal, urogenital, and other birth defects.
Mountaintop removal mining has also been linked to serious health problems. Rates of mortality, lung cancer, and chronic heart, lung, and kidney disease are all significantly elevated in counties with mountaintop removal mining. The rate of birth defects is 26 percent higher.
January 14, 2014
From our good friends at Earthjustice…
Raviya Ismail, Earthjustice, (202) 745-5221; firstname.lastname@example.org
Harmful MTR Policy Exacerbates Public Health China Crisis
Provision included in spending bill would threaten already imperiled
Washington, D.C. — Last night the House of Representatives filed a trillion-dollar spending bill that includes a provision that restricts the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers from using funds to change in any way whatsoever, regulations pertaining to the definitions of the terms “fill material” or “discharge of fill material” under the Clean Water Act. This locks in a 2002 rulemaking that allows corporate polluters to keep dumping industrial waste in rivers and streams and polluting entire watersheds.
The following statement is from Chris Espinosa, legislative representative for Earthjustice:
“We are appalled that Congress is bargaining peoples’ health through this give-away rider to polluters. This rider does nothing but give polluters free reign to continue poisoning Appalachia’s already-contaminated drinking water sources. More than 22 percent of all the rivers and streams in Southern West Virginia are impaired by mountaintop removal mining pollution and this policy rider will lock in the same destructive practice of using waters as waste dumps.
“We will continue to work with legislative leaders and the administration to address harmful pollution that results from valley fills and press for an end to mountaintop removal mining. The chemical spill in West Virginia – which left hundreds of thousands without water – only reminds us all how much everyone needs and deserves clean water. Congress must not cut off the federal government’s ability to protect people from clean water. It is a basic human right.”
Earthjustice is a non-profit public interest law organization dedicated to protecting the magnificent places, natural resources, and wildlife of this earth, and to defending the right of all people to a healthy environment.
Raviya Heera Ismail
Eastern Press Secretary
1625 Massachusetts Ave. NW Suite 702
Washington, DC 20036
Because the earth needs a good lawyer
please read: http://earthjustice.org/news/press/2014/harmful-mountaintop-removal-policy-exacerbates-wv-public-health-crisis
please help spread the word, and add your voice to stop this rider! this will allow mountaintop removal coal companies to have unlimited dumping privileges. the current crisis in west virginia will only be the beginning of concentrated toxins in fresh water supplies. as it stands right now these companies have been “filling”-let’s call it what it is: poisoning-streams and rivers of the appalachian region for years, and this rider will only increase the allowed amount of deadly chemical that result from mtr coal mining.
regardless of whether you live in the appalachian region or not, everyone is effected by these “cost effective methods” of coal collection. water flows into water, seeps into vegetation, evaporates and is redistributed through rainfall into other areas….everyone is touched by the poisoning these companies are causing. at present the amount of toxicity of fresh water streams is minimal in comparison to where we will be if these companies are allowed and fiscally encouraged to pick up the pace in dumping these chemicals!
please regardless of where you reside, add you voice and help spread the news of this rider! congress is being quite sneaky in attaching this to a spending bill, making it almost undetectable! to help stop this rider from being law please help spread the word on your social media sites and by contacting local media-radio and television stations and/or print media such as newspapers and magazines. some examples of twitter posts:
> > Twitter Hashtags
> > #StopMTRPoisoning
> > #NoMoreToxicDumping
> > Polluters get greenlight on cont’d toxic dumping thx to @RepHalRogers and #Congress. Tell Congress #NoMoreToxicDumping!
> > Tell @HouseAppropsGOP and @SenateApprops to #StopMTRPoisoning and remove MTR valley fill rider from Approps bill #NoMoreToxicDumping
> > Hey @RepHalRogers, @SenatorBarb, @HouseAppropsGOP, @SenateApprops, @AppropsDems – ever seen a 250 million cubic yard wall of toxic sludge? Remove MTR valley fill rider from Approps bill #NoMoreToxicDumping
for more information please contact http://earthjustice.org/ or @ https://www.facebook.com/Earthjustice