Petition Seeks Greater Attention to Environmental Justice Considerations in Review of Mining Permits in Appalachia
October 7, 2009
On October 5, 2009, Sierra Club and its allies took action to address environmental justice issues associated with mountaintop removal mining in Appalachia. A coalition of Appalachian residents and community organizations submitted a petition to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), urging the agency to incorporate environmental justice considerations into its review of pending applications for mountaintop removal coal mining permits, among other actions. Mountaintop removal mining is an extremely destructive practice that destroys mountains and streams, and disproportionately impacts low-income Americans. The petition outlines how EPA has the responsibility under Executive Order 12898 to address the environmental justice impacts of mountaintop removal mining, and has the authority under the Clean Water Act, the Clean Air Act, the National Environmental Policy Act, and other laws, to do so.
On September 30, 2009, EPA announced that it is undertaking a coordinated review of 79 applications for mountaintop removal mining permits in conjunction with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. The petition asserts that these, and all future applications for mountaintop removal coal mining permits, should be scrutinized by EPA to identify and address any disparate impacts the proposed mining may have on vulnerable, economically disadvantaged communities. The petition also asks EPA to create an environmental justice plan and strategy for the region, and to ensure a meaningful opportunity for public participation by the Appalachian coalfield communities in EPA's permit review process.
Attorney Peter Morgan, of the Sierra Club Environmental Law Program, worked closely with Appalachian community members and activists to prepare the petition.
Details and Documents:
Groups Charge that Mountaintop Removal Coal Mining Disproportionately Impacts Low-Income Americans
Sierra Club Press Release, October 5, 2009
Environmental Justice Petition for EPA Action under Executive Order 12898 and all other Legal Authorities
October 5, 2009
Environmental Justice Petition for EPA Action under Executive Order 12898 and all other Legal Authorities, Appendix
October 5, 2009
See other "Stopping Mountaintop Removal and Other Destructive Mining" cases.