Harmful Mountaintop Removal Policy Exacerbates WV Public Health Crisis

Provision included in spending bill would threaten already imperiled waterways


Raviya Ismail, Earthjustice, (202) 745-5221

Last night the House of Representatives filed a trillion-dollar spending bill that includes a provision that restricts the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers from using funds to change in any way whatsoever, regulations pertaining to the definitions of the terms “fill material” or “discharge of fill material” under the Clean Water Act. This locks in a 2002 rulemaking that allows corporate polluters to keep dumping industrial waste in rivers and streams and polluting entire watersheds.

The following statement is from Chris Espinosa, legislative representative for Earthjustice:

“We are appalled that Congress is bargaining peoples’ health through this give-away rider to polluters. This rider does nothing but give polluters free rein to continue poisoning Appalachia’s already-contaminated drinking water sources. More than 22 percent of all the rivers and streams in Southern West Virginia are impaired by mountaintop removal mining pollution and this policy rider will lock in the same destructive practice of using waters as waste dumps.

“We will continue to work with legislative leaders and the administration to address harmful pollution that results from valley fills and press for an end to mountaintop removal mining. The chemical spill in West Virginia—which left hundreds of thousands without water—only reminds us all how much everyone needs and deserves clean water. Congress must not cut off the federal government’s ability to protect people from clean water. It is a basic human right.”

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