Month 4, Day 3: SRSLY? WTF?

Another piece of environmental insanity caught my eye yesterday. Read on and weep:

Dear President Obama ,

I’ve already written to you this week about your decision to include offshore drilling as part of your proposed energy legislation. That was demoralizing enough, but yesterday I learned that your administration has decided to defend in court a Bush-era regulation that allows unlimited dumping of hard rock mining waste on public land.

Earthworks et al. v. Department of the Interior et al. is currently before the U. S. District Court for the District of Columbia. This suit challenges two decisions by the Bush administration that allow private mining firms to dump waste on public land without compensating the government for any environmental damage.

Worse, the filing indicates that the White House has had an opportunity to either reverse the rule or study its effectiveness, but instead has chosen to defend it in court.

This is incomprehensible. Your admininstration has no business continuing rules from the previous administration that represent a huge liability to the taxpayer, and a massive gift to the hardrock mining industry.

The EPA has identified hardrock mining as “posing the highest financial risk for taxpayer cleanups,” noting that:

* “[T]he hardrock mining industry has experienced a pattern of failed operations, which often require significant environmental responses that cannot be financed by industry.”
* The hardrock mining industry “releases enormous quantities of toxic chemicals”—according to the 2007 Toxic Release Inventory, 28 percent of the total releases by U.S. reporting industries.
* EPA’s expenditure data shows that between 1988 and 2007, approximately $2.7 billion was spent on cleanup of hardrock mining facilities, with $2.4 billion going to National Priority List sites. The largest portion of these expenses has been incurred since 1998.

There is no excuse for your administration attempting to defend these rules, which prolong the inexcusable practice of waste dumping on public lands. Please heed the words of the EPA and reverse this decision, settling the lawsuit and revising the rule.

This would be both environmentally and fiscally responsible. The present course is anything but.

Yours Sincerely,

Warren Senders

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