Ohio Valley Environmental Coalition
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October 2009
Contents

Major News: EPA May Do Its Job!
DEP Biologist: Agency Chief Huffmans Testimony to Congress Was Ill Informed

Thinking About Your Legacy: An Open Letter from Dr. Ken Hechler

Reflecting on EPAs Announcement
JOBS in the Coalfields, the Right Way
Families in Mingo Co. Sue Over Flooding
Asking the Highest Court in the Land to Hear Our Case
Dear Friends at OVEC
Lindytown - Threats, Dead Horses and Shattered Dreams As the Draglines Creep Ever Closer
Lindytown - From Nice Little Mountain Town to Virtual Ghost Town
EPA Moves to Block WVs Largest MTR Mining Permit
Corps Approves Controversial Permit Despite EPAs Objections
The Trail of Tears - History Is Repeating Itself in WV
Policy Efforts on Family Cemetery Protection Issues
Join the Cemetery Protection Group And Help Find Long-Term Solutions
Awareness is Where Its At
Please Pray for Webster County
Cook Family Cemeteries: Ancestors No Longer Rest In Peace Due to Mountaintop Removal Mining
Coal Slurry: New York Times Nails Clean Water Act Crimes (Many) and Punishment (None)
Victory! Public Water Lines Finally Coming to Prenter
Goodbye Patricia, Welcome Stephanie! - New Organizer Joins SSP Effort
WVU Studying Effects of Coal Slurry Injection on Health
Working to Reduce Coal Prep Plant Air Pollution
Six Southern WV Communities to Benefit from EPA Grant
Judge Thornsbury Disqualified from Presiding in Slurry Injection Case
Coal Country - the movie: Film Debuts To Packed Crowd After Concerns Almost Cancel Showing
Help End MTR and Help Coal Country Have a Party!
OVEC: Power With!
What Happens In Valleys Is As Important As What Happens On Mountain Peaks
Plundering Appalachia - The Book, Is Here!
Chemicals and Their Dangers Force People From Kanawha Valley
Clean Elections - Saving WV From Future Scandals
Why Manchin and Co. Dont Care About Health in the Coalfields
Eating For OVEC Keeps Raising $$$
Carbon Tax: Our ACES in the Hole for Real Change
Report: Global Warming Causes 300,000 Deaths A Year, Toll to Increase
Remembering Conley Branch - May It Always Be In My Heart
United Against MTR:
Red Bandanas, Dreadlocks, Clean-Cut, Old Folks and Young
TV News Fails to Cover Mountaintop Removal Well, Or At All
Nominations for OSM Chief
University Divesting of Massey Stock, Others May Follow
Toxic Legislation: Selenium at the Legislature; OVEC Appeal to EPA


For viewing the PDF version of the newsletter

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

Asking the Highest Court in the Land to Hear Our Case

On August 27, the Appalachian Center for the Economy & the Environment and Earthjustice filed a petition to the U.S. Supreme Court, asking for an appeal of a recent decision made by the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals over one of our lawsuits.

"The Supreme Court must intervene in a case that strives to provide essential protections for Appalachian mountain streams under the Clean Water Act," said Joe Lovett, executive director of the Appalachian Center. "The Corps has not adequately controlled mountaintop removal mining activity and has allowed for the wholesale destruction of our vital waterways."

The lawsuit, filed by OVEC, West Virginia Highlands Conservancy and Coal River Mountain Watch in 2005, claims that the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has violated the Clean Water Act by issuing permits which allow coal companies to dump waste from mountaintop removal mining into waterways without following basic requirements of federal law designed to prevent irreversible harm to the nations waterways.

In March 2007, we won that lawsuit before U.S. District Judge Robert C. Chambers. The ruling would have

required the Corps to conduct more extensive environmental reviews before issuing permits to coal companies wanting to bury streams.

In February, a panel of federal judges in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit ruled 2 to 1 in favor of the Corps in the case, with a strong dissent from one judge on the panel.

We then requested rehearing by the full court of appeals, but in late May, by a close vote of 4 to 3, with 4 additional judges abstaining from the vote, the court denied that petition. Two judges filed strong dissenting opinions this time.

In his dissent from the denial of rehearing, Judge M. Blane Michael, who also had dissented from the panels February decision, explained that: "The ecological impact of filling headwater streams with mining overburden is both profound and irreversible No permit should be issued until the Corps fulfills each distinct obligation under the controlling regulations. And this court should not defer to the Corps until the agency has done its job."

"Were constantly hearing about the decreasing amounts of clean water within our nation as well as water wars between states," said OVEV member Carolyn Van Zant. "Yet the coal industry is recklessly burying and polluting our headwater streams under millions of tons of mining waste in central Appalachia. We hope that the Supreme Court realizes how vital, urgent and necessary their input is on this matter."

 

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