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Govt. Loses Letters, So Let's Write Back for Clean Water

We are sorry to hear that the Department of Interior’s Office of Surface Mining lost 18,000 Earthjustice supporter letters. Our supporters wrote these letters during the Bush administration to urge OSM not to eliminate critical stream protections, especially the “stream buffer zone rule,” from mountaintop removal mining—which it did anyway.

We appreciate the Department of Interior’s apology and explanation for the unfortunate loss of these documents, which were misplaced possibly years ago in an agency move. We want to give reassurance that though the agency may have lost these letters, the Earthjustice supporters who wrote them have not gone anywhere. In fact, they have multiplied and are growing stronger in their commitment to this cause.

Earthjustice is proud to represent some of the most dedicated citizens and community members in the country, and we will not stop until justice and a safe, healthy environment for all is achieved. That’s why, when President Obama took office, more than 20,000 Earthjustice supporters immediately took action again to urge the administration and new leadership at the Office of Surface Mining to bring back these protections and restore the stream buffer zone rule.

Since then, Earthjustice supporters have written more than 277,000 letters to various administration agencies, demanding stronger stream and water protections for communities and an end to mountaintop removal mining. Our partners and client groups have added hundreds of thousands more to that tally. We trust all of these hundreds of thousands of letters are still in place, and we urge the Obama administration to revisit them and listen to the people.

In support of those dedicated people, we promise not to back down. If the government loses our letters, we will send more. If the government ignores us, we will speak louder. And if the government violates the laws that protect us, we will sue. That’s why we have reopened our lawsuit, on behalf of several Appalachian and national citizen groups, against the illegal policy that eliminated these basic stream protections, seeking to restore the safeguards that are crucial to so many families and communities in Appalachia.

Many of our government’s policies still fail to consider the harm they cause to water quality and to Appalachian communities. It is time for our elected and appointed leaders to listen to the public and to restore these public health safeguards. It is past time to end mountaintop removal mining—take action and send your message today!