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Please begin with an informative title:

For the first time, the EPA is considering  a veto  of a MTR mine that has already received one federal permit for "one of the largest surface mining operations ever authorized in Appalachia." It is the Spruce No. 1 Mine.

This rare veto may be issued because this is the only MTR mining project that was required to prepare an Environmental Impact Statement. In spite of modifications to the project to reduce environmental impacts, the EPA found the mine would cause "unacceptable adverse impacts" including burying more than 7 miles of streams, contaminating downstream surface waters with mining pollutants, clear-cutting 2,278 acres of mature, productive forestlands and contaminating fish and wildlife.

The EPA is hearing from the coal industry and industry front groups, like FACES of Coal, at public hearings. We can get President Obama's back by supporting the EPA's proposed veto with our comments that the EPA will review before it makes a final decision.


You must enter an Intro for your Diary Entry between 300 and 1150 characters long (that's approximately 50-175 words without any html or formatting markup).

Tonight's EcoAdvocates edition includes posts by faithfull on Passing Clean Water Protection Act (HR 1310), and Ellinorianne on Clean-it-up rallies say no more offshore oil drilling.

Here are a few reasons why the EPA should nix this mine:

(1)  Only a few of the decapitated, denuded MTR sites are reclaimed.

The Natural Resources Defense Council issued a report this week that showed that very few developments have been constructed on the flattened, decapitated, and denuded mining sites. This report was based on satellite imagery to review the so-called reclamation progress at 500 strip-mining sites. This is key data because the mining industry is not complying with the law:

The mining industry has long exploited a federal statutory provision that exempts them from restoring the land to its "approximate original contour" if there is a plan to develop the land for "equal or better economic use" such as "industrial, commercial, residential or public use."  However, NRDC’s analysis ... confirms that nearly 90 percent of mountaintop removal sites have not been converted to economic uses.
In fact, only a handful of sites have been used for industrial parks, oil and gas fields, golf courses, airports or parks.

(2)  The carbon footprint of MTR mining is 17% higher "when greenhouse gas emissions relating to mountaintop mining operations are factored in." This study used "published data on factors such as forest and soil carbon" to calculate the carbon emitted "when companies cut down trees and sheer off mountaintops to access that coal."

(3)  Scientists call for a moratorium on MTR mining because the ecological and human health costs are "pervasive and irreversible."

(4) Violation of human rights by mining companies that place profit over worker safety.  Violation of civil rights of protestors where court sets bail of $100,000 for two young activists charged with trespassing, conspiracy, obstruction and littering because they "left garbage near their platform over the road."  Rather ironic given the devastating environmental and human rights impacts of MTR mining.

Please submit public comments

Your voice can make a difference because the EPA will review all comments before it makes a decision. The public comment period is open until June 1, 2010.

Comments should be directed to whether the proposed determination should become the final determination... .
EPA's proposed determination is to "restrict or prohibit the discharge of fill material at the Spruce No. 1 Mine project site consistent with our authority under Section 404(c) of the Clean Water Act (CWA)."

This is how you can submit comments to the EPA:

Submit your comments, identified by Docket ID No EPA-R03-OW-2009-0985, by one of the following methods:
1.    Federal eRulemaking Portal (recommended method of comment submission): http://www.regulations.gov. Follow the online instructions for submitting comments. Or, go directly to the comments page for this action.
2.    E-mail: ow-docket@epamail.epa.gov. Include the docket number, EPA-R03-OW-2009-0985, in the subject line of the message.
Please remember that some federal agencies publish the comments in full so leave out any information you don't want to see publicly displayed.


Passing Clean Water Protection Act (HR 1310)
by faithfull

Firstly, a big thanks from the bottom of my hillbilly heart To Patriot Daily and Meteor Blades for doing the yeoman's work that makes this series possible. I am very appreciative of the opportunity to share with you a bit of what is currently happening in that most wild and wonderful corner of America - the Appalachian coalfields.

Massey: Bad
The word has taken on new meaning in recent weeks, evoking corruption, disasters, out-of-touch-right-wing-climate-denying-CEOs taking enormous undeserved bonuses, and (fortunately) FBI investigations for failure to keep their coal miners safe."  

UMWA President Cecil Roberts has called for Massey CEO Don Blankenship's imprisonment, and the two will share a Senate panel tomorrow, which I'll be live-tweeting.

But Massey also means mountaintop removal, and the company remains the single largest perpetrator of the practice.

Mountaintop removal: Bad

In 2007, Devilstower, DWG, A Seigel, PDNC, and many others have covered this issue in depth on these pages. So let's be brief.

The coal is going away, and most of the coal jobs are long gone. Reclamation is a sham. Mountaintop removal is an ecological catastrophe, HORRIBLE for the Appalachian economy and has a high correlation with America's worst poverty.

Within a 10 miles radius in southern WV, Massey Energy runs an absolute house of horrors, including the Upper Big Branch mine, giant mountaintop removal sites such as Kayford and Edwight, and some of the largest sludge impoundments in the world at Cherry Pond and Shumate's Branch, the latter sitting directly above Marsh Fork Elementary School. Putting our citizens at risk like this is unacceptable.

Public Opinion: Good

A majority of Americans, Appalachian citizens, and a majority of members of Congress oppose MTR. This includes one of the most powerful and the longest serving Senator in United States history, Robert C. Byrd. Senator Byrd concludes that our citizens are our greatest resource. Not coal.

Action: Good

There's just one problem - Congressman Nick Rahall (D-WV-03) is siding with Massey Energy, claiming that he is blocking citizen efforts to pass legislation that would be a first step in ending mountaintop removal.

Please call Congressman Rahall's office and demand that he stand up to Massey and let the Clean Water Protection Act (HR 1310) pass. 202-225-3452

Also, the citizens of Appalachia have put together a fantastic campaign site called iLoveMountains.org. We'd be honored if you'd join us.

Clean-it-up rallies say no more offshore oil drilling
by Ellinorianne

Yesterday, Greenpeace found this sludge and posted an appropriate photo of a BP banner and this mess that has washed up in Louisiana's marshes.  It's even more important since Major news agencies like CBS have been turned away from areas like this by the Coast Guard and BP under threats of arrest.

Is it a media blackout?  Is this to keep people from seeing those devastating photos that were so damning during the Exxon-Valdez spill?  It adds up, especially as so many people ask, "Where's the oil?"

Keeping the media out will not keep the truth from being seen.  And some are taking to the streets to make sure that people know someone's paying attention.  Clean it up rallies call for BP to take responsibility for this mess and can bring attention to the fact that even if media grows tired of the story (no oil? no story!), we will not and they will be held accountable.

We've seen many "Clean It Up" rallies taking place across the country, where thousands of attendees are gathering to say: No more offshore oil drilling—now's the time for a major investment in clean energy in the U.S.

Local citizens from New Orleans to Virginia Beach to Seattle to Minneapolis and beyond are organizing some fantastic rallies, and the news is taking notice of these grassroots gatherings for clean energy.

The Sierra Club organized the most successful and largest of these rallies in New Orleans with more than 500 protesters in attendance.   They have tools where you can host or attend your own Clean it up event!
Our leaders need to know that America stands with our families on the Gulf Coast. That we want BP's oil spill cleaned up quickly, and that BP should be held accountable.

We'll be holding rallies across the nation calling on President Obama and Congress to stand strong with the Gulf Coast.

You can help by hosting an event in your area. Sign up below to become an event organizer. By hosting, you'll be signing up to get event locations and coordinate the volunteers and attendees who sign up to work with you.

Energy Action Coalition is  creating "Crude Awakening" protests and giving you the tools to even organize you're own.
Starting on May 20th -- the one-month anniversary of the drilling disaster -- Crude Awakening events are taking place across the country.  We need to make sure our country wakes up to the dangers of dirty fossil fuels, stands with directly impacted people on the Gulf Coast, and makes loud demands for a clean and safe energy economy.
I know if you're like me, you are angry and you want to demonstrate your frustration. You are not alone, why not attend one of these rallies and add your VOICE and if there isn't one near you, organize it.  BP needs to be held accountable and we must keep paying attention.

EcoAdvocates is a new series initiated by Meteor Blades and Patriot Daily News Clearinghouse, who are contributing editors. This series focuses on providing more effective political pressure and taking action on environmental issues.

Contributing writers provide a diversity of perspectives including wind/energy/climate change; water; agriculture/food; mountaintop removal mining/coal; wildlife; environmental justice; and indigenous/human rights/civil rights. Contributing writers include: Bill McKibben, Jerome a Paris, mogmaar, boatsie, Aji, rb137, Ellinorianne, faithfull, Oke, Jill Richardson, Patric Juillet, Josh Nelson, beach babe in fl, Ojibwa, Muskegon Critic, Desmogblog, A Siegel, gmoke, DWG, citisven, mahakali overdrive and FishOutofWater.

Extended (Optional)

Originally posted to Patriot Daily News Clearinghouse on Wed May 19, 2010 at 04:56 PM PDT.

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