Early Monday morning, activists from the Rainforest Action Network drove a truck onto the front lawn of the Environmental Protection Agency in Washington, D.C. and dumped a “mountain” of coal waste onto it.
Their actions were part of a creative demonstration intended to compel the agency to veto the 2,278-acre Spruce mountaintop removal mine project in Blair, W.Va.
In an effort to demonstrate the impact of the Spruce mine—the largest mountaintop mine project ever proposed—activists dumped 1,000 pounds of earth and rubble brought all the way from Appalachia. Their message was clear: “EPA: don’t let King Coal dump on Appalachia.”
Recently, the Obama administration announced that it would delay making a decision on whether to veto the Spruce mine project until late September.
Coal companies and coal state politicians have been lobbying day and night to influence the administration’s decision during the election season, and many believe the fate of the Spruce mine could serve as an indication of the future of the coal industry as a whole.
“At issue here is not whether the Spruce mine would be bad for the environment or human health, because we know it would and the EPA has said it would,” said Amanda Starbuck from the Rainforest Action Network. “At issue is whether, during an election season, President Obama’s EPA will stand up to coal industry pressure and veto this horrific project.”
A paper released in January 2009 by a dozen leading scientists in the journal Science concluded that mountaintop coal mining is so destructive that the government should stop giving out new permits all together.
Image Credit: Flickr - Rainforest Action Network