You too can help save Ohio's Hellbenders

Kaysie

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NEWS RELEASE
The Center for North American Herpetology
Lawrence, Kansas
http://www.cnah.org
8 December 2008

OHIO'S REMAINING HELLBENDER HABITAT IS IN JEOPARDY

Ohio Senate Bill 386 is being rushed through Legislature.
This bill would remove the Ohio
EPA's authority to regulate mine discharges, essentially giving full authority to do this to
the mining industry.


WHAT CAN YOU DO RIGHT NOW?

Go to the URL below.


Check out what is at stake and send your own message directly to the relevant decision
makers.


Spread the word.


Contact Senator Bill Seitz
Senate Building
Room #143, First Floor
Columbus, Ohio 43215
Telephone: 614/466-8068

SD08@senate.state.oh.us


and Representative Robert Mecklenborg.
77 S. High St
14th Floor
Columbus, OH 43215-6111
Phone: (614) 466-8258
Fax: (614) 719-3584
Email: district30@ohr.state.oh.us

The Ohio Senate vote is TUESDAY (9 December) and WEDNESDAY (10 December).


Please act swiftly.


********

For more information, the following is a recent article from the Columbus Dispatch.


EDITORIAL: DON'T MUDDY THE WATERS
Environmental-protection experts should regulate water pollution from mines

Wednesday, December 3, 2008 3:25 am

The Ohio Environmental Protection Agency should be in charge of protecting the state's
waterways from pollution, whether that pollution comes from a factory pipe, a large-scale
farm or the byproducts of mining coal.
A proposed bill to put state mining officials in
charge of granting water-pollution permits for coal mines is a bad idea.


State Sen. Timothy J.
Grendell, R-Chesterland, is behind the bill to switch authority from
the EPA to mining bureaucrats in the Ohio Department of Natural Resources.


This proposal is similar to a 2001 state law -- also a bad idea -- that transferred the state
EPA's authority to regulate large-scale livestock farms to the Department of Agriculture.

That transfer still isn't final, because the U.S.
EPA, which has ultimate responsibility for
enforcing the 1972 federal Clean Water Act, hasn't approved it.


In a recent public-comment meeting, opponents of the farm-regulation switch pointed out
that the Department of Agriculture's mission is to promote farming in Ohio, not to be a
watchdog.


The same potential for conflict of interest exists in putting ODNR's Division of Mineral
Resources Management in charge of water-pollution permits for mines.


The timing of the bill lends weight to the suspicion that the real goal is to allow an end run
by a major mine company that has been denied a permit by the EPA.


Murray Energy Corp.
, owner of Ohio's largest underground coal mines, wants to bury
Casey Run, a 2-mile-long stream in eastern Ohio, under a 1.
85-billion-gallon coal-slurry
lagoon.


Slurry is water contaminated with coal dust after it has been used to wash coal.
In 2005, a
broken slurry pipeline from a Murray Energy-owned mine blackened 2,300 feet of Belmont
County's Captina Creek, killing thousands of fish in a habitat that supports the
endangered hellbender salamander.


Casey Run is a tributary of Captina Creek.
EPA scientists, in recommending denial of the
permit for the massive lagoon, said it would pose "insurmountable" environmental
concerns for the high-quality water resource.


Murray officials say they'll have to close two mines employing about 1,000 people if they
can't build the slurry lagoon, but EPA and ODNR officials said the company could find
other ways to dispose of its waste.


Another supposed justification for the bill is a claim that the Ohio EPA takes too long to
review mining permits. This appears to be a moot point.
The bill would give mine
regulators a six-month deadline for approving or denying permits.
In recent months, the
EPA has eliminated its backlog of applications and has pledged to handle new ones within
six months.


Murray Energy's checkered track record of multiple environmental and safety violations in
Ohio and elsewhere, including the Crandall Canyon mine cave-in that killed six men in
Utah in August 2007, argues against easing regulation of the company.


Regardless of one company's history, safeguarding Ohio's waterways should remain with
the agency for which environmental protection is the core mission.
 
Last edited:

Dave1812

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Can UK and other members help or is it only for US citizens?
 

Kaysie

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Anyone can write letters. Of course, they're most effective coming from the constituents of these Congress-folk, but anyone can write letters. The more the better!
 

Kaysie

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And as Dawn stated in a previous thread, handwritten letters go a LONG way to show how passionate an issue is to you. If you do call or email, I really suggest following up with a handwritten letter. This is especially effective, as they know you mean business by following up.
 

John

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Posted in the wrong section. Moved.
 

Abrahm

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The Ohio Senate vote is TUESDAY (9 December) and WEDNESDAY (10 December).

And as Dawn stated in a previous thread, handwritten letters go a LONG way to show how passionate an issue is to you. If you do call or email, I really suggest following up with a handwritten letter. This is especially effective, as they know you mean business by following up.

I don't know if handwritten letters will make it in time considering when the senate is voting.

Well, I hope the constant stream of junk mail from the Ohio senate is worth my time to write the email.
 

Kaysie

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I'm aware that letters wouldn't make it in time (unfortunately), but hopefully a phone call can at least get the word out, and a followup will stick in their head for future reference.
 

Ichthyostega

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I didn't know hellbenders even lived in Ohio.

But since I live in Ohio, I'll be considering this!
 
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