I live in Maryland and am proud to be represented in Congress by Sen. Ben Cardin (D-MD). Not only does he have a 100% rating from the League of Conservation Voters, but Sen. Cardin is leading the fight in Congress to end mountaintop removal coal mining. He is the lead co-sponsor -- along with Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-TN) -- of the Appalachia Restoration Act (S. 696), a bill that would essentially ban mountaintop removal by preventing coal companies from dumping mining waste into valley streams.
In an interview with Grist, Sen. Cardin had this to say about the issue and the prospects for his bill:
"Mountaintop removal for coal is just devastating. There is no justification for mountaintop mining. The coal industry is important, but getting coal by that technique destroys our rivers. It destroys our environment. It's not fair to the people of that community. Their rivers are being destroyed, and it's just a horrible process. I'm pleased that we have bipartisan support to move legislation. Now, the EPA has already taken some steps. They're carefully reviewing each permit. I give the EPA a great deal of credit for taking that extra time, but they need the authority from Congress that prohibits this type of mining in our country. I do think there is support for it, and I'm hopeful that this Congress will move forward to an act of meaningful help for the EPA, in keeping our rivers clean and helping the environment."
Sen. Cardin referenced EPA's recent action to temporarily block all pending mountaintop removal permits until agendy experts take a closer look at potential water quality impacts. NRDC applauded this move by EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson and we're encouraging her to hold fast in the face of coal industry criticism and to let science be the deciding factor in these permit decisions.
But even if EPA does the right thing by enforcing regulatory protections under the Clean Water Act, we still need Congress to act. You can help by encouraging your senators to support Sen. Cardin's bill. Please take a moment to take action. We need more help to build momentum behind the effort to save the Appalachian mountains from mining destruction.