Ohio Valley Environmental Coalition
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August 2009
Contents

Floods ... Again
OVEC Organizer Wins International Recognition with Green Nobel
JOBS and Energy Answers for Our WV Mountain Communities
Picnic for Green JOBS
MTR Mining Equipment Taken Off Gauley Mountain For Now
Board Adds Conditions to Disputed Fayette County Mine Permit
Lets Make Sure the Transition to a Clean, Green Energy Future in WV is a Peaceful One
Calling All Potential New OVEC Board of Directors Members!
Congress Doesnt Always Want to Come CLEAN
The CLEAN Citizens Leading For Energy Action Now
American Clean Energy Security Act: Coal Rewarded
Good Gosh, We Could Have Used That Money to Jump Start the Clean Energy Future in America!
Slurry Lawsuit Settlers Frustrated With Wait for Money
Mountains Aided With First-Ever Fundraising Concert in North Carolina
Sludge Safety Project Legislative Session Wrap-Up
DEPs Sludge Study Results: Agency Still Dont Know Nuthin
OVEC Organizer Testifies at Senate MTR Hearing
Thanks for All the Volunteers Who Helped After the Floods
Fighting For Our Ancestors Resting Places
Lobbying for Green Jobs in DC
Growing Movement Demands Protection for Mountains, Climate, Humanity
Environmental Groups Ask EPA to Take Over WV Pollution Permitting
Byrds Eye View: Staffers Get Close-Up Views of Mountain Range Removal
A Good Win in A Critical Federal Court Case Against MTR
Judicial Bill Pulled by Governor
Supreme Court Case Makes WV A National Laughingstock
Eating For OVEC Keeps Raising $$$
Photovoice Participants Capture their Communities in Images
Photovoice Exhibitions Well Covered By Local and Statewide Media
You Dont Have to Go to Copenhagen to Make a Difference
Obama and Mountaintop Removal Mining: The Roller Coaster Ride
New CD Celebrates Coalfield Resistance to Mountaintop Removal
Blair Mountain and the National Register of Historic Places
Ashford Yesterday, Today and Maybe Tomorrow?
Come Home to West Virginia? Buyer Beware!
Louv-ley Day in Charleston
Who Are They Kidding?
Web Extras:
Open Letter to Governor Manchin about Blair Mountain
Matewan, West Virginia


For viewing the PDF version of the newsletter

 
Winds of Change Newsletter, August 2009     See sidebar for table of contents

Obama and Mountaintop Removal Mining: The Roller Coaster Ride

Excerpted from Facing South, the Institute for Southern Studies online magazine

During his presidential campaign, Barack Obama spoke critically of mountaintop removal. But since taking office this year, the Obama administration has sent mixed signals about its stance on mountaintop removal, troubling activists working to stop the destruction.

On the one hand, the Environmental Protection Agency announced in March that it was asking the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to take a closer look at mountaintop removals "potential harmful impacts on water quality" through its permitting process.

But then in April, the Department of Justice filed a brief with the 4th U.S. Circuit court of Appeals opposing further review of a lower court ruling (Ed. Note: The lower court ruling that had been in OVECs favor) that would have more strictly regulated mountaintop removal.

Adding to the uncertainty, Interior Secretary Ken Salazar held a press conference recently to announce his agency plans to reverse Bush administrations changes to a rule that allowed mountaintop removal operations to dump waste in streams. But at the same press conference, he reassured the coal industry that the President didnt want to hamper production (Ed. Note: And, he could not assure us that the rule would be enforced.)

"Basically, were totally confused," said Judy Bonds of Coal River Mountain Watch, a grassroots group fighting mountaintop removal in West Virginia. While the federal government dithers, coal companies appear to be stepping up operations, she added.

With the Obama administration vacillating on the issue, lawmakers in North Carolina, South Carolina and Georgia are trying to build momentum by introducing legislation to prohibit electric utilities from burning mountaintop removal coal. The legislation is running into stiff resistance from coal companies and electric utilities, which wield considerable power over legislatures.

 

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