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Press Room:  For Immediate Release 
Explore, Enjoy and Protect the Planet

April 1, 2010
Contact: Oliver Bernstein, 512.477.2152

Sierra Club Applauds Environmental Protection Agency for
Cracking Down on Mountaintop Removal Coal Mining

Tough New Policy Should Protect Communities and Waterways

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency today announced a bold new policy to protect communities and waterways from the impacts of mountaintop removal coal mining. By setting tough guidance for mining near streams, the EPA will severely limit this most devastating form of coal mining. The EPA also addressed the negative impacts to communities caused by mountaintop removal coal mining.

In response Sierra Club Executive Director Michael Brune issued the following statement:

"The new policy represents the most significant administrative action ever taken to address mountaintop removal coal mining. Today's announcement reaffirms the Obama administration's commitment to science and to environmental justice for the communities and natural areas of Appalachia.

"We also applaud the EPA for recognizing the negative impacts to the communities of Appalachia, who have suffered long enough from the effects of mountaintop removal.

"After years of the coal industry making molehills out of Appalachia's mountains, these new guidelines will reduce the destruction caused by mountaintop removal, and communities will be able to focus on building a clean energy economy. Tragically, mining companies have already buried close to 2,000 miles of Appalachian streams beneath piles of toxic waste and debris.

"Today's announcement is a major step toward protecting Appalachia's natural heritage. If effectively implemented and vigorously enforced, this policy will largely prevent coal companies from dumping mining waste into streams. We call on other agencies, including the Army Corps of Engineers, the Office of Surface Mining and the Department of the Interior to follow EPA's lead and take their own steps to protect the region's communities and water resources."

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For more details visit http://www.epa.gov/owow/wetlands/guidance/mining.html



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