Read the petition http://blogs.wvgazette.com/coaltattoo/
CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Seventeen national, regional and local environmental groups this week urged the Obama administration to issue a new water quality rule aimed at reducing pollution from mountaintop removal coal mining.
In a formal rulemaking petition, the groups said the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency should set an enforceable water limit on electrical conductivity as a tool to curb mining pollution.
The groups said the federal water standard is needed because other EPA efforts have been ineffective at controlling damage to aquatic life, especially in the face of opposition from industry and coal-state regulators.
"Only a federally promulgated numeric water quality standard will finally resolve this problem and bring long-needed protection to Appalachian waterways and the communities that depend on them," the citizen groups said in their 33-page petition.
Citizen groups asked EPA to respond within 180 days and to begin a rulemaking procedure to "set water quality standards to address the problem of conductivity in Appalachian states affected by mountaintop removal mining."
The petition highlights the fact that while industry officials and coalfield politicians say the Obama administration has carried out a "war on coal," environmental organizations don't believe the administration has done nearly enough about mountaintop removal.
"We need EPA to act now," said Cindy Rank, mining chairwoman for the West Virginia Highlands Conservancy. "State politics and industry pressure have so far failed to end this pollution without such a standard and more and more streams and communities who rely on those waters are left vulnerable."