|Good News, Take Action to Keep it Coming
Last Friday afternoon, the movement to end mountain removal received good news
. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia sided with the U.S. EPA and our coalition of citizen groups
in upholding an Obama administration policy to scrutinize pollution from mountaintop removal coal mines here in Central Appalachia.
Back in 2011, after years of pressure by folks like you calling for an end to mountaintop removal, EPA issued a water quality guidance, using peer-reviewed science that shows how terribly harmful mountaintop removal coal mining is to our streams.
The National Mining Association, other coal industry groups, the State of West Virginia and the Commonwealth of Kentucky didn't like the guidance and brought this case against the EPA and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.
In ruling against the coal groups and the state governments, the court upholds EPA's authority to enforce water pollution laws at mountaintop removal sites in order to protect our waters and community health.
In reacting to the ruling, WV Governor Tomblin said, "We, in consultation with the other litigants, will continue to explore our legal options after additional review of the ruling.” Seems the "we" in his statement is not we, the people.
It's obvious state politicians will continue to pander to the coal industry. We need a federal rule that supersedes the corruption of state politicians and makes a real difference for Appalachian water and the future of our communities. Please click here to send a letter to the EPA to tell the agency that water protection can’t wait!
Letters show you want action, but an in-person visit can really drive that point home. So, on September 8 and 9, we are asking you to join Appalachian leaders for the Our Water, Our Future visit to Washington, D.C. Join us in this national day of action to get the safe water Appalachia needs! OVEC's organizing a crew to head to this event, so check in with your OVEC organizer or reply to this e-mail for details. To register, click here. If you can't go, but want to help, please make a donation so others can travel to D.C.
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Join Us Wed & Thurs for Press Conferences in Charleston
Tomorrow, Wednesday, July 16, please come support the Fast for the Mountains. Join the fasters, Climate Ground Zero, Coal River Mountain Watch and OVEC representatives at a 9:30 a.m. press conference on the sidewalk at Haddad Riverfront Park, 600 Kanawha Boulevard E., Charleston, WV.
Wednesday marks the tenth day of fasting at the State Capitol by Roland Micklem and Mike Roselle, who insist that Governor Tomblin take urgent action on the health impacts of mountaintop removal and the MCHM spill into the water supply of 300,000 people.
While you are in the area, you might want to attend a noon public meeting of the U.S. Chemical Safety Board, in the Ballroom at the Four Points Sheraton Hotel, 600 Kanawha Blvd. E, Charleston, WV. Expect an update on an explosion that killed three workers at a plant several years ago, as well as an update on CSB's investigation into the MCHM disaster. There'll be time for public comments.
Next, please join us on Thursday, July 17 as the NAACP West Virginia State Conference hosts a press conference to discuss the release of their new report, “Just Energy Policies: Reducing Pollution and Creating Jobs – West Virginia Report,” which assesses energy policy in the State of West Virginia through a civil rights lens. Join us at 10 a.m. on the Culture Center steps on the WV State Capitol Grounds, 1900 Kanawha Boulevard E., Charleston, WV.
The report provides analysis of West Virginia’s energy sector policies based on environmental, human health and economic impacts, and lays a path for preserving the wellbeing of the community while creating economic enterprise opportunities.
Speakers include Sylvia Ridgeway, president, NAACP West Virginia State Conference; Jacqui Patterson, director, NAACP National Environmental and Climate Justice Program;
Kenneth Hale, president, NAACP West Virginia Political Action Chair and Charleston Branch; and Reverend Rose Edington, chair of OVEC's board.
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Kanawha Forest Coalition Needs You
The Kanawha Forest Coalition is at full tilt in efforts to stop the expansion of a surface mine next to the Kanawha State Forest. (Here's a note about the incredible biodiversity in KSF and here are some aerial shots of the forest, older mining and new mining activities underway.)
Here's a WV Public Radio news segment on the coalition’s work (be sure to listen to the audio at the link), a Charleston Gazette article on a recent meeting, Channel 8 and Channel 13 coverage of the meeting, and an op-ed.
Join in! Check out the Facebook page or contact OVEC organizer Dustin White at email@example.com.
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Our Children Our Future Meetings
It's time to get active in the Our Children Our Future campaign to help bring an end to child poverty in West Virginia.
Environmental pollution, which brings negative health effects, and the rising costs of energy are directly linked to the problem of child poverty.
The campaign has an upcoming Regional Policy Workshop in Hurricane, where community leaders from across the state will propose policy changes to work on over the coming year. Please come and support positive environmental change in West Virginia and ways to lower energy costs and save working families money.
Join us July 24 for the Central Regional Workshop at St. Timothy in the Valley, Hurricane, WV.
Check out more upcoming events, including Our Children Our Future meetings in other regions of the state, on our online calendar.
Photo: OVEC's working with the Boys and Girls Club in Huntington to give kids hands-on
experience in gardening. Kids, with access to plenty of clean water, are the future! Photo by Tonya Adkins.
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July 21 is the deadline to comment on DEP's proposal to reclassify a stretch of the Kanawha River
potential source of drinking water.
The details you need are here.
On January 9, Freedom Industries' 10,000-gallon spill of MCHM (a coal-processing chemical) into the Elk River contaminated the drinking water of 300,000 people living in central and southern West Virginia.
On February 2, 39,000 tons of power plant waste (coal ash) and 27,000 gallons of contaminated water leaked into a Virginia waterway, flowing into North Carolina.
On February 11, 108,000 gallons of coal prep plant waste fouled a tributary of the Kanawha River.
Though at least two of these disastrous and dangerous spills made national news, these events are hardly unprecedented for our region.
Mountaintop removal and other coal industry abuses have long comprised the waters of Central Appalachia.
Coal prep plant waste has been fouling streams and well water and making people sick. Coal companies carrying out mountaintop removal mining have buried about 2,000 miles of streams, and poisoned streams unburied. MTR mines are devastating aquatic life and human life.
Enough! Join us in Washington, D.C. September 8 and 9.