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With this session of Congress coming to a close, there are a handful
of Senators and Representatives attempting to enact a last minute 
provision that would severely threaten our nation's mountains, 
forests, streams and the wildlife that live there. The provision 
would overturn a recent court decision that closed a loophole 
allowing the environmentally horrific practice of mountaintop 
removal. This controversial mining technique uses explosives to tear 
away whole peaks to get at coal deposits underneath. The debris is 
then bulldozed into the valleys below, completely burying forests 
and streams.

As unbelievable as this sounds, we have confirmed reports that Senator 
Robert Byrd (D-WV) is close to forcing the mountaintop mining rider 
on to one of the remaining federal spending bills that must be 
passed before Congress leaves for the year. The controversial mining
rider, along with a score of other anti-environmental riders, has 
deadlocked negotiations between the White House and Congress.

We need your help! There is no time to lose! If we do not act now, 
this horrific rider and others could become law.

                     EXTRA! EXTRA!
  This evening, ABC World News Tonight with Peter Jennings 
  is expected to do a story on the moutaintop removal rider. 
  Check your local listings for time and station.


1. E-mail President Clinton and tell him to veto any spending bills
that contain a rider allowing mountaintop removal mining. 

   President Bill Clinton's E-mail:     president at whitehouse_gov

2. Call your Senators and Representative and urge them to oppose any 
spending bills that contain a rider allowing mountaintop removal 
mining. You can reach your members of Congress by calling the 
Capital Switchboard at (202) 224-3121. Just give the operator your 
Representative's or Senator's name and they will patch you through.

    Call Your Members of Congress:	(202) 224-3121

We realize that this may be a long distance phone call for you but 
time is short and it is critical that phone calls get to your 
Representative's or Senator's Capitol Hill Offices right away. After 
you respond simply reply to this e-mail and let us know that you 
contacted the President and your member of Congress on this important 

Thank you for you support.


On October 20, a federal court in West Virginia ruled that the 
practice of filling entire valleys that include streams and woodlands 
with the mining waste generated from mountaintop removal operations 
violates both the water quality protections of the federal Clean 
Water Act and the buffer zone provisions of the Surface Mining 
Control and Reclamation Act.  The court banned state officials from 
issuing any future permits for valley-fill operations that destroy 
protected waterways.  

Nine days after the decision, the judge in the case stayed his 
decision pending appeal in order to quiet some of the political 
reactions to the decision and give both parties and policymakers an 
opportunity to carefully evaluate future options. Despite this 
action, a group of Congressmen led by Senator Byrd (D-WV) are pushing 
to add a rider in the final hours of the legislative session to 
overturn this decision by exempting valley-fills from federal and 
state water quality standards. The rider would allow the destruction 
of thousands of miles of streams in coal mining regions and create 
an unprecedented special interest loophole in the Clean Water Act. 
Despite its potential disastrous impact on the environment, the 
mountaintop removal rider has not been debated or a subject of a 
Congressional hearing in either the House or the Senate.

While the White House currently opposes the mining rider, it is not 
clear whether the President would veto any spending bill that 
contained the mountaintop removal language. Currently more than 50 
anti-environmental provisions have been attached as riders to "must 
pass" spending bills which fund the federal government, including 
nearly 30 on the Interior Appropriations bill. These include 
provisions which would exempt Alaskan salmon from the protection of 
the Endangered Species Act, prohibit funds for a citizen-based 
grizzly bear recovery program in Montana, exempt big oil companies 
from paying royalties to the federal government, and weaken trapping 
restrictions on internationally protected species.