2006 Action of Immediate Witness

WHEREAS the Appalachian mountain range is an irreplaceable environmental treasure in the heart of the United States;

WHEREAS mountaintop removal coal mining is devastating the environment, economies, people, and culture in Appalachia;

WHEREAS the Environmental Protection Agency estimates that at least seven hundred miles of healthy streams have been buried by mountaintop removal coal mining;

WHEREAS the exploitation of Appalachia unjustly enriches other regions in the United States by providing cheap coal and thus electricity at the expense of Appalachia;

WHEREAS the availability of cheap coal thwarts energy conservation efforts because consumers, if required to pay the full and true costs of energy, would likely change their consumption habits; and

WHEREAS passage of H. R. 2719, the Clean Water Protection Act, would amend the Clean Water Act in a way that should reduce the use of mountaintop removal coal mining because coal companies would no longer be permitted to dump waste into nearby streams and valleys;

THEREFORE be it resolved that in order to protect the Appalachian environment and its people and to promote environmentally aware energy consumption patterns, the delegates of the 2006 General Assembly of the Unitarian Universalist Association call upon our member congregations, our affiliate organizations, and individual Unitarian Universalists to:

  • Petition their congressional representatives to support passage of H. R. 2719, the Clean Water Protection Act;
  • Petition relevant federal and state agencies, such as the Office of Surface Mining, the Army Corps of Engineers, and the individual state permitting agencies, to suspend or refuse to issue permits for mountaintop removal coal mines;
  • Petition relevant agencies to restrict Appalachian mountaintop removal coal mining to daylight hours;
  • Petition relevant national and state departments of health and human services to engage in dialogue regarding the effects of environmental degradation on the health of affected communities;
  • Petition relevant agencies to levy and collect fines for mining and environmental violations;
  • Strengthen legislation and funding for restoration of lands affected by mountaintop removal coal mining; and
  • Raise awareness that the impact of the choice of coal mining techniques on local communities is a national and not a regional issue.

For more information contact socialjustice@uua.org.

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