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NFC: Fw: DEN ALERT: STOP MOUNTAINTOP REMOVAL MINING RIDER
DEN ACTION ALERT:
STOP DISASTROUS MOUNTAINTOP REMOVAL MINING RIDER
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
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.
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.
WHAT YOU CAN DO
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
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.