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The Valley Reporter
P.O. Box 119
Waitsfield, VT 05673

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Help close the loophole

To The Editor:


While I am aware of the major victory recently won by the Environmental Protection Agency, I am writing to urge you to help close the loophole found in the Clean Water Act exploited by the Bush administration in 2002. The people of the Appalachian Mountains are not the only ones who wish to fight to save the mountaintops and the diverse biology found within. I have grown up among the beautiful Green Mountains of Vermont and I cannot imagine the same destruction here.


As I am sure you are aware, over 500 mountaintops have been destroyed to retrieve the coal seams deemed too thin to mine. Every day about 2,500 tons of explosives are detonated, producing the power equivalent to a nuclear bomb every week. It is impossible to replace the biological functions of these mountains and the seeding of non-native grass certainly does not help.


The debris from these explosions is then bulldozed over the side of the mountains and into the streams below. These streams and their tributaries are vital to the endemic plants and animals of the region as well as the people living and working there.


The Clean Water Act Section 404 subsection (c) states that a disposal area found to have "unacceptable adverse effects on municipal water supplies, shellfish beds and fisheries, wildlife, or recreational areas" is to be prohibited. Subsection (e) (2) further states that no permit may last for more than five years. If both these facts are true, then it stands to reason that something must be done. Please help close the loophole in the Clean Water Act and put an end to mountaintop removal.


Ayla C. Walker





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