RAN activists have spent two days locked-down to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), demanding justice for the people of Appalachia by enforcing the Clean Water Act and ending mountaintop removal mining (MTR).
Specifically we requested that EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson visit Appalachia to witness this American tragedy firsthand by taking a citizen-guided flyover of a mountaintop removal mine site.
While the EPA has not committed to taking the flyover, we are encouraged by their positive comments.
Almost every person who passed through our ‘Purple Mountain’s Majesty’ and underneath the banner “EPA: Pledge to End Mountaintop Removal Coal Mining in 2010” has been incredibly positive about our action. EPA employees, tourists and DC residents all demonstrated their support on the issue.
In addition to the many comments from passing EPA employees that “we are doing a great job” and “please keep doing what you’re doing”, Lisa Jackson personally tweeted her response. Administrator Jackson said in her tweet: “People are here today expressing views on MTM, a critical issue to our country. They’re concerned abt human health & water quality & so am I.”
This conversation extended to Lisa Jackson’s facebook page, now full of comments calling for Lisa to visit Appalachia and examine the impacts of MTR for herself. Many of these came from coalfield residents, using the opportunity to directly communicate with the EPA about their plight.
We have also been told about an internal memo that circulated the EPA headquarters yesterday, explaining that we were a nonviolent, peaceful protest and that staff should not be concerned by our presence drawing attention to an issue that the EPA is working to address.
However, while we’re encouraged by the implicit support from inside the EPA, now it’s time for that to be delivered through real action.
Having firmly placed mountaintop removal coal mining back onto the EPA’s radar, we will ensure that Administrator Jackson cannot ignore this critical issue until mountaintop removal is abolished.