Cardin Also Urges a Full Ban on Mountaintop Mining
First it was Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) urging an outright ban on mountaintop mining in lieu of new EPA restrictions. And now Sen. Ben Cardin (D-Md.) is echoing that message, issuing a statement that calls on Congress to take up legislation that would prohibit companies from dumping mine waste in streams altogether.
The [EPA's] guidance for approving mining permits, based on these new scientific studies, will help control the damage caused by mountaintop removal mining. But the science shows us that if we are to truly protect our mountains, streams and the people who depend on them, we must bring the practice of mountaintop removal mining to an end.
Last year, Alexander and Cardin introduced legislation that would classify mining debris as a pollutant, which would force coal companies to truck their mining waste to off-site dumping grounds — something the industry claims would make mountaintop removal economically unfeasible (which, of course, is the whole point of the bill).
Last June, Cardin staged a hearing on the issue, the first of its kind in nearly a decade. At the time, the Maryland Democrat vowed to hold another, though none has yet been planned. The offices of both Cardin and Alexander are closed today for the Easter holiday.