Philadelphia activists rally & risk arrest to tell the EPA no more MTR

By Josh Ran

Philly EPA Considering 16 New Mining Permits

This morning activists in Philadelphia descended upon their Regional EPA branch to put an end to Mountaintop Removal mining (MTR). Decisions made here in Philly have devastating consequences for Appalachian communities and our country as a whole.

Activists prepared to enter the building and risk arrest by sitting-in until they were granted a meeting with officials inside, and after a successful engagement and demands met, the rally of 40 people exited.

In recent months, the EPA has wavered in their position on mountaintop removal coal mining (MTR); in particular with the recent approval of the high profile Hobet 45 Mine permit. Philadelphia’s EPA has oversight of MTR permits for Virginia and West Virginia, which includes the Hobet 45 Mine. Philadelphia’s Region 3 EPA is considering 16 upcoming MTR permits and is responsible for the enforcement of the Clean Water Protection Act at existing MTR sites, which makes it a critical agent in ending the mining practice.

This has become a national issue. Appalachians can’t wait any longer, and Philadelphia activists met this urgency with action.

Meanwhile, there is a simultaneous rally at EPA’s region 4 in Atlanta GA, also responsible for MTR permitting.

Every day, across Appalachia, the coal industry literally blows the tops off of historic mountains, impoverishing communities, poisoning drinking water, clear-cutting entire forests, wiping out the natural habitats of countless animals, and sacrificing the heritage and the health of families across the region. The EPA estimates that more than a million acres of American mountains across Appalachia have already been lost to MTR, and yet they allow it to continue.

More than 2000 miles of rivers and streams have been buried and contaminated by ‘fill’ waste from Mountaintop removal mines. In streams rainwater seeps over rocks that had previously been far underground, which release toxic metals that kill life in streams and cause health problems for people who drink the water. The EPA can intervene and must intervene – not in a month, not in a week, but now.

Most Americans oppose mountaintop removal coal mining. its time to ban this devastating coal mining practice, and to transition to energy that is clean, safe and forever – and to generate good clean jobs for Appalachia.

As the movement to stop coal continues to grow in the U.S. we are on the verge of ending MTR. Please help.