Draining the swamp in Washington, D.C., the newly sworn in Congressional majority has wasted no time targeting critical Obama Administration rules designed to protect public health, the environment, foster transparency, and combat corruption. Using an obscure law called the Congressional Review Act (CRA), Congress can pass and the President can sign resolutions of disapproval that effectively undo the rules finalized during the latter days of the Obama era. Obscure, because, Congress has only once before successfully used this procedure- to undo a Department of Labor rule requiring ergonomic chairs in workplaces.
But, there isn't, at least, not yet. That's why the wealthy Texans Dick Bass and William Herbert Hunt are proposing to develop a coal field that lies beneath the Chuit River, an extremely productive wild salmon watershed. On January 20th, more than 150 people attended a hearing in remote Kenai, Alaska to tell the State of Alaska that the commercial and subsistence salmon harvest make the Chuit River an 'unsuitable land' for an open-pit coal mine. Check out this great coverage in The Mudflats, including photos from the hearing and an outline of the comments. You can weigh in too; the deadline for comments if February 19th.
In yesterday's Charleston (WV) Gazette:
An independent science advisory team has issued a draft report that supports the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's conclusion that mountaintop removal is causing serious damage to Appalachian streams.
In a 75-page report, a 15-member panel of scientists from around the country agreed with EPA's conclusion that valley fills are increasing levels of electrical conductivity downstream from mining operations and threatening stream life.
In a stunning development today, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issued new guidance designed to protect Appalachian streams from mountaintop removal mining, by taking an important step to prevent the removed mountaintops from being dumped into streams and valleys. This is great news for Appalachia, and EARTHWORKS congratulates our allies for their hard work in bringing this issue to the forefront of the EPA s attention, and we also applaud Lisa Jackson and her team at the EPA for recognizing the importance of protecting clean water.
Richard Bass, along with his partner William H. Hunt, are currently trying to permit the largest coal strip-mine in Alaska s history, the Chuitna Coal Project, along the Chuitna River. The mine would be built directly on top of 11 miles of prime salmon fisheries feeding the Cook Inlet.
Mr. Bass is the owner of the world famous Snowbird ski resort in Utah. Ironically, his proposed mine threatens the very resort in which he takes so much pride. The Chuitna mine would release nearly 54 million pounds of greenhouse gases per year, piling on to man-made global warming -- the boogeyman of ski resorts and all winter sports. In addition, the mine would destroy one of Alaska s most productive salmon fisheries and poses a direct threat to area wildlife.
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