[FWD: Responding to your message]

Subject: Responding to your message
From: "Congressman John Yarmuth" <ky03jyima@mail.house.gov>
Date: Fri, October 02, 2009 6:28 pm
To: <shereekrider@usmjparty.org>

October 2, 2009


Ms. Sheree Krider

2708 Maxon Drive

Louisville, Kentucky 40220


Dear Ms. Krider,


Thank you for contacting me with your opposition to mountaintop removal mining.  I appreciate hearing your thoughts on this important issue.


I share your concerns about mountaintop mining, which has serious effects on our waterways and natural areas, especially in Kentucky.  As you are aware, mountaintop mining involves the removal of the top of a mountain in order to recover coal.  Excess dirt and rock from the mountaintop are usually disposed of in valleys and often destroy streams and wildlife habitat.  I believe we need to protect our sources of clean water.  Mines take a tremendous toll on the land and nearby water, and I agree we need to find a solution to minimize the damage of mountaintop removal.


That is why I joined with some of my colleagues to introduce H.R. 1310, the Clean Water Protection Act.  This measure will effectively end mountaintop mining by amending the Clean Water Act to exclude from the definition of "fill material" any pollutant that is discharged into water primarily for the purpose of disposing of waste.  H.R. 1310 is pending approval by the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure.  Although I am not a member of this Committee, please be assured I will continue to urge my colleagues to support this bill.


In addition, I have expressed my grave reservations over the practice of mountaintop removal mining to President Obama’s Administration, including Nancy Sutley, Chair of the President’s Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ). It is encouraging that the Obama Administration is taking a step forward to halt the devastating and irreversible damage.  The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the Army Corps of Engineers, and the Department of the Interior (DOI) recently announced a coordinated approach, which includes the following efforts:


. The Corps will modify the usage of Nationwide Permit (NWP) 21 to prevent its use for authorizing mountaintop removal permits in the Appalachian region.

. The EPA and the Corps will strengthen the regulation, enforcement, and permitting of surface mining operations.

. The EPA will improve and strengthen oversight and review of water pollution permits for discharges from valley fills.

. The Corps and EPA will jointly clarify how to evaluate impacts on proposed mitigation projects and streams.


I am hopeful President Obama and Congress will work together to build on these efforts to ensure that this irresponsible practice no longer threatens the Appalachian region or the health and security of its residents.


In the meantime, thank you again for sharing your views with me.  Please do not hesitate to call on me if I may be of service to you in the future.  If you would like to learn more about my work in Washington and in Louisville, please visit my website at http://www.yarmuth.house.gov where you will find the latest news, my weekly schedule, video from hearings, and information about constituent services.  You can also sign up for my e-newsletter to receive periodic updates on important issues and services for your family.




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