I am not in the best situation for blogging this morningÂ but must make you aware of this final Bush-era gift to Big Coal, one of his last insults to the people of Appalachia and PlanetÂ Earth.Â
Read this short explanation below of the pending legislation,Â find out everything you need to know. Link
In one of the first of what will likely be many terrible Bush Administration last minute decisions as his term comes to an end, they are trying to force through the Stream Buffer Zone (SBZ) rule change. Last year, you may recall grassroots groups from across the US teamed up with national groups to send between 40,000 and 70,000 comments to the Office of Surface Mining, Reclaimation, and Enforcement (OSMRE) asking them to block the rule change – which would legalize and expand the worst abuses of mountaintop removal.
Please read and sign the petitionÂ to the EPA administrator; petition textÂ (subject to your additions or not) is included below.
I am writing to urge you not to approve the Office of Surface Mining’s final recommendation to repeal the Stream Buffer Zone rule. This rule is critical for the protection of aquatic life and safe drinking water for Appalachian communities.
It is the duty of the Environmental Protection Agency to protect the environment, not to allow coal companies to permanently destroy flowing streams.
The Office of Surface Mining’s recommendation would overturn an existing ban on mining within 100 feet of streams that has been in place since 1983. The Stream Buffer Zone rule is one of the only habitat protections for Appalachian ecosystems.
Rather than enforcing the rule to protect water quality, the Bush administration and the OSM are giving coal companies permission to permanently destroy streams. Over 1,200 miles of streams in Appalachia have already been devastated by mountaintop-removal coal mining.
As EPA administrator, it is your responsibility to protect the streams, habitats, and communities of Appalachia by not putting this rule change into effect.