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Demand protections from the dangers of mountaintop removal mining before it’s too late

Your U.S. Representative

What’s At Stake

For decades, the coal industry has been using one of the most deadly and destructive forms of coal mining, mountaintop removal mining, at the expense of the health of Appalachian communities. We can’t stand by while this administration continues to put the interests of polluting, extractive industries over those of the people of Appalachia. We need Congress to act.

Mountaintop removal mining uses explosives to blow the tops off mountains to access the coal seams beneath. This launches harmful particulates of silica, aluminum, and molybdenum into the atmosphere, contaminating the air that local communities must breathe and the water they must drink.

Instead of working to address this issue, the Trump administration cancelled a vital study that was looking into the health impacts of mountaintop removal mining. They did this after top Department of Interior officials met with representatives of the coal and mining industries.

It’s time for Congress to intervene by passing the Appalachian Community Health Emergency Act (ACHE Act). This act would put an emergency moratorium on all mountaintop removal mining activities until a comprehensive federal study of the health risks associated with this destructive practice can be completed.

Mountaintop removal mining has devastated West Virginia.
David T. Stephenson / Shutterstock

Mountaintop removal mining has devastated West Virginia.

Your Actions Matter

Your messages make a difference, even if we have leaders who don't want to listen. Here's why.

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You level the playing field.

Elected officials pay attention when they see that we are paying attention.

They may be hearing from industry lobbyists left and right, but hearing the stories of their constituents — that’s your power.

Our legislators serve at the pleasure of the people who gave them their job — you. When you contact your elected official, you’re putting a face and a name on an issue. Whether or not you voted for them, they work for you, for the duration of their term.

Make sure your elected officials know whose community and whose values they represent. (Find your local, state, and federal elected officials.)

Your action is with us in court.

If a federal agency finalizes a harmful action, the record of public comments provides a basis for bringing them into court.

Throughout each of the public comment periods we alert you to, Earthjustice’s attorneys are researching and writing in-depth, technical comments to submit — detailing how the regulation could and should be stronger to protect the environment, our communities, and our planet.

We need you to join us — your specific experiences, knowledge, and voice are crucial to add to the Administrative Record through the comment periods.

Lawsuits we file that challenge weak or harmful federal regulations rely on what was submitted during the comment period. The court can only look at documents that are in the Administrative Record — including the public comments — to decide if the agency did something improper.

Your actions aid our litigation. Taking action and submitting comments during a comment period is substantively important.

It’s the law.

Federal agencies must pause what they’re doing and ask for — and consider — your comment.

Many of us may have never heard of the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) and the Administrative Procedure Act (APA), but laws like these require our government to ask the public to weigh in before agencies adopt or change regulations.

Regulations essentially describe how federal agencies will carry out laws — including decisions that could undermine science, or weaken safeguards on public health.

Public comments are collected at various points throughout the federal government’s rulemaking process, including when a regulation is proposed and finalized. (Learn more about the rulemaking process.) These comments become part of the official, legal public record — the “Administrative Record.”

When the public responds with a huge outpouring of support for environmental protections, these individual messages collectively undercut politicians' attempts to claim otherwise.

What this means is each of us can take a role in shaping the rules our government creates — and ensuring those rules are fair and effective.

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