AV's Legislative Associate, Thom spends his days in Washington, D.C., knee deep in politics and legislation, working to persuade decision makers to protect Appalachia from mountaintop removal. He is the least outdoorsy person at Appalachian Voices, and he’s just fine with that.
Wednesday, October 22nd, 2014 | Posted by Thom Kay | 3 Comments
The Washington Post published a strongly worded editorial condemning mountaintop removal coal mining in Appalachia that cites recent studies revealing the practice's dirty consequences. With the mounting scientific evidence that mining pollution is decimating aquatic life, wiping out trees and mountains, and promoting a host of human health problems, there is no excuse to continue allowing mountaintop removal. [ More ]
Friday, October 17th, 2014 | Posted by Thom Kay | 7 Comments
The body of research linking mountaintop removal mining to lung cancer just got a whole lot stronger. Using dust samples collected in communities near mountaintop removal mines, a new study conducted by West Virginia University researchers found a direct link between air pollution and tumor growth. [ More ]
Tuesday, October 14th, 2014 | Posted by Thom Kay | 5 Comments
Companies are still using mountaintop removal, blowing up mountains in Appalachia to mine coal. But despite what some say, they are not putting them back together again. Until the Obama administration and Congress take serious action, no amount of reclamation is going to fix the problems the mining is leaving behind. [ More ]
Friday, August 15th, 2014 | Posted by Thom Kay | No Comments
Since the mid-1990s, the coal industry has blasted the tops off of more 500 of the oldest, most biologically rich mountains in America, and destroyed more than 2,000 miles of headwater streams. Despite a growing movement of Appalachians and thousands of other citizens rallying to end the destruction, it’s still happening. [ More ]
Monday, July 28th, 2014 | Posted by Thom Kay | No Comments
When President Obama first took office, he made a commitment that his agencies would always act on what the science dictated. I guess the way around taking actions, then, is to stop the science from ever being completed. [ More ]
Wednesday, July 23rd, 2014 | Posted by Thom Kay | 1 Comment
Congressional representatives have shown little interest over the past few years in talking about mountaintop removal coal mining. They'd rather lambast the EPA and the Obama Administration for any actions to protect Appalachia's people and environment. But today, our program director, Matt Wasson, is testifying before Congress. That means members will hear about higher-than-average cancer rates and other impacts of this abominable coal mining practice.
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Friday, July 11th, 2014 | Posted by Thom Kay | 4 Comments
A major ruling in favor of the EPA says the agency has the authority to coordinate with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers when reviewing permits for mountaintop removal mines. The EPA has the legal authority, scientific evidence, and moral obligation to block every mountaintop removal permit that comes through its doors. We all share the responsibility of making sure it does just that. [ More ]
Tuesday, June 24th, 2014 | Posted by Thom Kay | No Comments
Rep. Nick Rahall -- like too many others in Congress -- apparently sees no problem using that forum to spout untruths and fabrications to further his own agenda. In this case, he mischaracterizes the EPA's veto of a permit for one of the largest mountaintop removal mines in the region in order to safeguard Appalachia's waters and communities. [ More ]
Monday, March 31st, 2014 | Posted by Thom Kay | No Comments
Last week, the U.S. House of Representatives voted to roll back stream protections in an effort to make it easier to dump waste from mountaintop removal mines into Appalachian streams. Given the makeup of the House right now, this comes as no surprise. But there is a silver lining.
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Thursday, March 20th, 2014 | Posted by Thom Kay | No Comments
It’s hard to get a good bill all the way through the legislative process to receive a vote on the House floor. Apparently it’s much easier to get a bad bill that far. H.R. 2824 — pro-mountaintop removal legislation that would weaken protections for Appalachian streams — is expected to head to the House floor for a full vote sometime next week. [ More ]
Tuesday, January 14th, 2014 | Posted by Thom Kay | 2 Comments
More than 2,000 miles of Appalachian streams have been buried or poisoned by the valley fills associated with mountaintop removal mining. Yet, despite touting his credentials as a former coal regulator, Rep. Kevin Cramer (R-ND) believes that current stream protections are sufficient and dumping mining waste into streams is illegal. [ More ]
Friday, December 6th, 2013 | Posted by Thom Kay | 2 Comments
“I don’t want to mislead anyone, I don’t think it will pass in the Senate and maybe not the House,” Virginia Rep. Morgan Griffith said of his bill, the latest futile attack on the EPA, which would to force the agency to layoff 15 percent of its employees.
Congressman Morgan Griffith (R-VA) introduced a new bill this week titled the “EPA Maximum Achievable Contraction of Technocrats Act,” or “EPA MACT Act.”
The bill would require the EPA to layoff 15 percent of its employees. The title of the bill is a play on words, referring to EPA’s Utility MACT rule, which would drastically reduce air pollution in the United States. Because if there’s one thing that makes a good piece of federal legislation, it’s a title that pokes fun at pollution controls.
The bill would reduce employment at EPA over a three-year period, though no rate of contraction would be mandated over that time period. It also includes a long “Findings” section full of disjointed talking points that are seemingly meant to explain the need for staff cuts. Griffith uses the fact that 95 percent of the EPA’s employees were deemed ‘non-essential’” during the government shutdown to justify the reductions and makes the trivial point that “the EPA occupies space in fourteen different buildings in the District of Columbia.”