Thursday, August 24, 2017

Environmental organizations and Pennsylvanians rally behind new federal mining regulations

Officials from the Sierra Club, the Mountain Watershed Association, the Citizens Coal Council and the Center for Coalfield Justice, as well as Pennsylvanian citizens, called for the state’s Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement (OSMRE) to strengthen mining pollution regulations during a hearing in Pittsburgh on Thursday.

“The Pennsylvania [Department of Environmental Protections] has allowed reckless longwall coal operators to illegally destroy streams for decades,” Executive Director of the Center of Coalfield Justice Patrick Grenter said. “The Stream Protection Rule is a step towards ending the destruction of hundreds of miles of Washington and Greene county streams and allowing residents to protect their communities from future loss."

The pollution protections proposed under the Surface Mining Control and Reclamation Act (SMCRA) would be the first significant update in decades to federal mining regulations, and would dictate the testing, regulation, control and enforcement of water pollution from mining operations.

“The current form of the new SMCRA rule does not clearly give community members the right to take mining companies to court over pollution issues--a key sticking point for many community and environmental groups,” Sierra Club Senior Campaign Representative for Pennsylvania Tom Schuster said. “We’re here today to call on the OSMRE to implement strong clean water protections that enshrine the basic right of every resident to defend herself and her property against irresponsible mining practices and mining pollution.”

Organizations in this story

Sierra Club Fort Lauderdale, FL - 33335

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