Wednesday, July 29, 2009

AAEA Supports The Clean Water Protection Act, H.R. 1310

AAEA opposes mountaintop removal.

The Clean Water Protection Act, H.R. 1310 was introduced by Congressman Frank Pallone (D-NJ) on March 4, 2009 and amends the Federal Water Pollution Control Act (commonly known as the Clean Water Act) to define "fill material" to mean any pollutant that replaces portions of waters of the United States with dry land or that changes the bottom elevation of a water body for any purpose and to exclude any pollutant discharged into the water primarily to dispose of waste.

For years, the Clean Water Act allowed for the granting of permits to place 'fill material' into waters of the United States, provided that the primary purpose of the 'filling' was not for waste disposal. The intention was to prevent industries such as coal mining from using the nation's waterways as waste disposal sites. That changed in 2002, when the Army Corps of Engineers, without Congressional approval, altered its longstanding definition of 'fill material' to include mining waste. This change accelerated the devastating practice of mountaintop removal coal mining and the destruction of more than 1,200 miles of Appalachian streams.

H.R. 1310 restores the original intent of the Clean Water Act to clarify that fill material cannot be comprised of mining waste. The legislation has 154 cosponsors and has bipartisan support. (

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