Take Action for
Coalfield Communities - Stop OSM Nominee
Take five minutes now, and save years of anguish for communities struggling with the devastating impacts of coal mining. From Arizona to Montana, the Dakotas to Texas, Illinois to Pennsylvania to Appalachia, if you believe that mountains and prairies are more than just overburden, streams are more than just dump sites, and people's homes and water are more important than "cheap" megawatts, then take action: Tell government officials that Pizarchik is the wrong choice to head the OSMRE.
The Senate confirmation vote for Joseph Pizarchik could occur within the next week - so it is absolutely crucial to act now so the Obama Administration will withdraw this terrible nomination. If you need more information about Pizarchik, watch this YouTube.
Please send the e-mail below – or better yet, write your own comments. A few personal words up front will give your communication more weight. It is time for America to have a director at OSMRE who will break the culture of callousness and indifference toward citizens in America's coal fields, time for us to have a director committed to rigorous enforcement of the law.
Step 1: Send the e-mail below to these two addresses:
Step 2: Send the e-mail to your Senator using this link.
Step 3: Send this email on to your friends and family.
Working together, we can transform OSMRE into the agency it was established to be, balancing coal extraction with protection and stewardship, but only with the right leaders!
I am very concerned about President Obama’s choice to nominate Joseph Pizarchik for Director of the Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement (OSMRE). With Mr. Pizarchik as legal council to Pennsylvania’s mining program, and then Director of the Bureau of Mining and Reclamation in the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (PADEP), citizens have suffered from a bureaucratic indifference toward meeting the purposes of the Surface Mining Control and Reclamation Act (SMCRA).
Three foundational purposes behind the passage of SMCRA in 1977 were to “establish a nationwide program to protect society and the environment from the adverse effects of surface coal mining operations” to “assure the rights of landowners” and to “protect the environment.”
Now, 32 years later, nationwide standards have never been established. The environment is being destroyed at accelerating rates. The cost of this damage to society is more than our own and future generations can bear. In reality, coal producers are being allowed to use lower environmental standards to enhance profits, often under the disguise of producing some alleged “benefit” at the expense of our health, environment and society. Painfully, Mr. Pizarchik has aggressively exhibited every bit of that bureaucratic indifference which has led to this distortion of the original intent of the law.
1. A 2007 independent review of the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection’s own monitoring data has revealed that 10 of 15 mine sites where coal ash has been “beneficially used” are contaminating surface and groundwater.
2. In a consensus report, National Research Council scientists concluded that Mr. Pizarchik’s program of alleged “beneficial use” of coal ash in mines did not use safeguards needed for this practice.
3. A federal court ruled that Mr. Pizarchik’s bonding program failed SMCRA’s bonding requirements to prevent water pollution.
4. Mr. Pizarchik attempted to prevent citizens from obtaining information under the Freedom of Information Act.
5. Mr. Pizarchik was involved in amending regulations under Pennsylvania’s Coal Refuse Disposal Control Act to allow variances to fill valleys with coal processing waste. This has obliterated dozens of miles of Pennsylvania streams.
6. Mr. Pizarchik’s longwall mining policy has devastated homes, destroyed streams and water supplies and violated the rights of landowners.
For the reasons stated above and more, I respectfully suggest that the OSMRE needs someone who will break the mold of indifference to landowner rights and environmental damage and “protect society and the environment from the adverse effects of surface coal mining operations.” Mr. Pizarchik is not the appropriate choice for the position.
Action: Inspire America to End Mountaintop Removal
Citizens' Walk Oct. 5
The 28-mile walk (the route, and therefore length of the walk, may change), to draw attention to mountaintop removal, will start on Oct. 5. Anyone 55 or over is invited to join the march, for which five days have been allotted, to allow even the slowest walker time to make the entire trek. Micklem and supporters are in need of Charleston-area overnight accommodations for participants. To offer accommodations or for more information, contact Roland Micklem at 304-854-7372 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
On The Bus: Rally for Clean Energy at the G20 in Pittsburgh
This is our chance to show the world that the answer to global economic recovery is building an economy based on clean energy. It's how we put Americans back to work, create millions of clean energy jobs, and decrease the carbon pollution that causes global warming.
Leaders from the United States and around the world need to know that we won't settle for anything less. Will you add your voice to the rally for a clean energy future?
If yes, join us for a rally in Pittsburg on Sept. 23 from 6-9 p.m. Free tickets are limited and going fast!
Sierra Club is organizing buses from various points to the rally, which features musical entertainment and a focus on clean energy jobs and comprehensive climate legislation, and will be held at Point State Park, 101 Commonwealth Pl # 1 in Pittsburgh.
If you want to catch the bus in West Virginia, or get tickets for the rally, sign up now by clicking here. If you need more information, contact Hillary Bright, 412.802.6161, email@example.com.
Other groups are organizing other events during this time period in Pittsburgh. Learn more here.
Don't Like Books? How About Movies?
Nov. 14-19: Watch Coal Country on the Planet Green digital cable network, which is affiliated with the Discovery Channel. The documentary airs as part of the network's new series of environmental films called 'Reel Impact.'
Signing; Rally for the Mountains Date Change; More Events
Sept. 29: Charleston-area folks, please hold-the-date for an early evening action... Be part of a national day of action. More details soon.
Sept. 26: 7 p.m. to 3 a.m. Benefit for the Kayford 8 in Johnson City. Details here.
Oct. 3: Rally for the Mountains at Dollywood is now set for Oct. 3. Details here.
Oct. 9 -11: SierraFest 2009. "25 years of Exploring, Enjoying, and Protecting our Planet" with special guest Allison Chin, National Sierra Club President. At Camp Virgil Tate, Charleston, WV. Speakers include OVEC's Maria Gunnoe. Click here for details.
Oct. 10-11: Annual Changing of the Leaves Festival on Kayford Mountain. Starts at noon each day. Music, good friends and fun. Bring a covered dish to share with all. For more information, call Larry Gibson at 304-542-1134.