Ohio Valley Environmental Coalition
Archive list of "E"- Notes newsletters

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December 2007
Contents

Judge: Valley Fill Damages Trump $$$ Lost
20 Years of Standing Our Ground
Changing Course: Windcall and the Art of Renewal
Highlights of OVECs History 20 Years of STANDING OUR GROUND
State Supreme Court Upholds Verdict Against Coal Company Over Destroyed Water Wells
Sludge Safety Project Makes Progress on Study
OSM Gets an Earful on Plan to Weaken Mining Rules
65 Percent of Americans Oppose Bush Plan for Buffer Zone Rules 
West Virginia Council of Churches Statement on Mountaintop Removal
Good Blue Dogs Helping to Raise Funds for OVEC This Christmas
Praying for the Land and People Victimized by MTR
Update on Blair Mountain
Strip Mining Damages Nature
A Note from Maria Gunnoe
David vs. Goliath Award Goes to OVECs Boone County Organizer
Tips on Writing a Letter to the Editor - Do It TODAY!
Clean Politics = Public Financing - It Really Is That Simple
Clean Elections: Control How You Pay for Politics
Piper Funds Challenge Grant Goal Exceeded! THANKS!!!!!
Eastern Panhandle Woman Pushes for Clean Elections
Why Dont Regulators Do Their Jobs? OVEC Answers
Delegate Wants Public Financing Law
OVEC Works! Thanks!
Public Energy Authority Not Serving Public: Manchins Coal-to-Liquids Energy Plan Gets Little Support
Mingo Residents Gather to Celebrate, Better their County
The Appalachian Adventure
Oh, Yeah, That's A Great Spot for A Mountaintop Removal Mine!
This Summers Story Voices of Those Hurt by Mountaintop Removal Mining
Ink Cartridge Recycling Program Sinks, But You Can Still EAT FOR OVEC
This Cant Happen in America, Can It?  No, Only in Central Appalachia - So Far
Miscellany


For viewing the PDF version of the newsletter

 
Winds of Change Newsletter, December 2007     See sidebar for table of contents

OSM Gets an Earful on Plan to Weaken Mining Rules

Excerpted from Oct. 25, 2007, Charleston Gazette, by Ken Ward Jr.

Coalfield residents on Wednesday night blasted a Bush administration plan to remove a key rule that if enforced could limit mountaintop removal mining.

Coal operators, miners and vendors also turned out to back a rule change they say would protect their industry from lawsuits and other regulatory hurdles.

More than 250 people overflowed a meeting roomfor the U.S. Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement public hearing.

Before the evening hearing, two dozen anti-mining activists protested along Kanawha Boulevard across the street from the (hearing venue). They stood in steady rain, holding signs that said, "Pull the rule protect our water."

OSM scheduled the hearing to gather views on its latest proposal to revise a nearly 25-year-old rule that generally prohibits mining within 100 feet of streams

John Harden, an electrician at the Hobet 21 mountaintop removal mine in Boone County, said he and his fellow workers are environmentalists who improve water quality with their mining and leave reclaimed sites in good shape and ready for development.

Harden recalled seeing the Grand Canyon during a motorcycle tour across country this summer. "I looked at the Grand Canyon and I said, Wow, that looks like my job."

"The proposed rule is subterfuge, designed to evade the purpose of the surface mining act and the Clean Water Act," said former federal mine inspector Jack Spadaro. "Shame on the Office of Surface Mining for proposing this disgraceful rule change."

Under the existing "buffer zone" rule, coal operators can already obtain variances to mine within the 100-foot area around streams. To do so, companies must show that their operations will not cause water quality violations or "adversely affect the water quantity and quality, or other environmental resources of the stream."

For years, state and federal regulators essentially ignored the rule. Between 1985 and 2001, coal companies buried more than 724 miles of Appalachian streams, generally without getting variances or proving how burying streams does not adversely affect them.

In 1999, then-U.S. District Judge Charles H. Haden II concluded that the rule prohibited valley fills in all but the smallest of Appalachian streams. That decision was overturned on appeal, but OSM and the Bush administration still moved to rewrite the rule.

OSMs latest proposed changes are a follow-up to a proposal issued in January 2004. Citizen groups harshly criticized that proposal, and OSM backed off to conduct what it said would be a more detailed environmental study of the issue.

That study, issued in late August, said coal operators will bury or otherwise damage another 535 miles of Appalachian streams under permits issued between October 2001 and June 2005.

 

 

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