Friday, November 16, 2007

Do you love mountains?

When I was living in Illinois, many years ago, the highest topographical feature in my entire county was a landfill. It wasn't particularly majestic, and after a hard rain, if the sun came out, it made the whole town smell pretty rank. I wouldn't have been opposed to someone blowing it up and removing it altogether.

I can't say the same thing for actual mountains, though. They're supposed to be there. They serve many important purposes and blowing them up leads to all manner of nasty consequences and repercussions. That's why you should head right on over to and check out their "Virtual Memorial" feature. Then you should look to see whether or not your congressional representative has signed on as a co-sponsor of HR 2169, the Clean Water Protection Act. If they have, be sure to send them a thank-you note. If they haven't, be sure to send them a note urging them to change that and sign on right away.

As of my writing this, the only Wisconsin representative signed on as a co-sponsor is the dependably awesome Tammy Baldwin. But that means that the other, 7 state reps need a good solid nudge from their constituents to get their butt's into gear.

That'd be:

Paul Ryan, 1st district
Ron Kind, 3rd district
Gwen Moore, 4th district
James Sensenbrenner, 5th district
Thomas Petri, 6th district
David Obey, 7th district
Steve Kagen, 8th district

So get on the horn, the wire, or the pen and let these folks know how important the Clean Water Protection Act is, and that we need to go back to enforcing the original intent of the bill:

In 1977, The Clean Water Act was enacted by Congress to “restore and maintain the chemical, physical, and biological integrity of the Nation’s waters,” and prohibited the dumping of material into waterways for the purpose of waste disposal. In 2002, the current Administration made a rule change which redefined “fill material” in order to include mining waste. Since debris from mountaintop removal is now acceptable “fill material”, coal companies are dumping millions of tons of mine waste into nearby streams using a streamlined permitting process. As its designers intended, this has greatly facilitated the practice of mountaintop removal.

Representatives Frank Pallone and Christopher Shays introduced a bill that reestablishes the original intent of the Clean Water Act: to protect our waterways, not give industry permission to pollute and bury them.

I've never lived near anything taller than a bluff, but I have visited the mountains many times. The Appalachians, when they're not being sawed off at the top, blown up, and dug through, are an absolutely stunning sight. The people who live with them deserve so much better than they're currently being given by the mining companies, and by an administration that allowed for the "fill material" loophole that's polluting the crap out of the land and water.

Let's get out there and do our part to stop it!

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The Lost Albatross