Sierra Club Attempts to Protect Popular Paddling Stream.

Water Quality Impacts Would Hurt Local Economic Activity, Outdoor Enthusiasts, and Community Health
Author:
Updated:
Original:

The Sierra Club, Appalachian Citizens Law Center and Kentuckians For The Commonwealth, joined by outdoor enthusiasts and paddlers, are challenging a permit submitted by Cambrian Coal Corporation that would allow for a new surface coal mine near Elkhorn Creek in Pike County. Cambrian Coal proposes to discharge mining waste into tributaries of Elkhorn Creek, Marrowbone Creek and Pond Creek, all of which run into Russell Fork, a major destination for many paddlers.

“For the past 7 years, I have participated in the Russell Fork Whitewater Rendezvous,” said Bill Pierskalla, a Sierra Club member and whitewater paddler. “If the proposed mine goes forward, I am concerned that people like myself will stop visiting Elkhorn City and paddling Russell Fork out of concern that the mining has polluted the water beyond safe limits.”

According to the groups, the 791-acre Cambrian Coal surface mine would severely jeopardize creek quality as well as land preservation, making recreational use of the area a less attractive option for tourists.

Aquatic biologist, local resident James Stapleton said, “I grew up along Elkhorn Creek, I’ve hiked and fished in that area for years. As a child I used to swim in the creek, but now I am concerned that surface mining in this area has started to degrade the water to an unsafe level.”

Recently the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released new water conductivity standards in order to protect water and the health of surrounding communities. Water testing downstream of Cambrian’s existing mines in the area has found the water to be far above EPA’s conductivity standards.

“I see no way this proposed mining operation could meet the requirements of the recent EPA guidance concerning conductivity. Already the area is above the recommended federal clean water standards,” said Rick Clewett of the Cumberland Sierra Club. “We should not be adding pollution to the area but cleaning it up. Additional mining could potentially eliminate the prospects for that community being able to succeed in their current efforts to develop and expand an economy based on water recreation and fishing.”

 “Water is the back bone of our economy here in Elkhorn City. And at the end of the day, we need people to keep visiting our area to recreate and support our local businesses,” said Stapleton.

The Sierra Club is now taking legal action against Cambrian Coal to ensure that the affected waterways and community are protected from mine pollution. Attorney Mary Cromer with Appalachian Citizens’ Law Center is representing the Sierra Club. 

For a copy of the Petition, email lauren.mcgrath@sierraclub.org.

#####

Related

The Sierra Club Announces Winner of Best Internship on Earth

The Sierra Club and The North Face have announced that Evan Geary is the winner of the wildly popular “Best Internship on Earth” challenge, designed to increase awareness and benefits around connecting young adults with the outdoors. The internship comes with a stipend, ...read more

Paddling is the Power Behind Sierra Magazine's May/June Issue

SIERRA magazine and the Sierra Club are staunch supporters of the paddlesports industry by publishing the Annual Paddling Issue, completely devoted to paddlesports of all kinds. This May/June issue once again features the Annual Paddling Section, written by Darren Bush of ...read more

Sierra Club Hosts 700 Parties to Celebrate National Parks

This past weekend, Sierra Club activists from around the country hosted more than 700 parties to watch the new Ken Burns documentary series, The National Parks: America's Best Idea. After watching a one-hour preview of the new series, party attendees wrote letters to Interior ...read more

Ideas for Low-Carbon Snow Sports from Sierra Magazine

(San Francisco, CA) Small changes in climate have a big impact on winter destinations. In the featured story of SIERRA magazine’s November/December issue “Winter Tracks,” Peter Frick-Wright attempts to enjoy a near-zero-emissions winter vacation by shunning cars and riding ...read more

Sierra Club’s Media Outreach Ranked Influential and Most Tech Savvy

Today, more than ever before, people are looking to each other for recommendations to help their decisions on everything, such as what to buy, where to vacation, which trails to hike, how to generate action-oriented buzz and to simply stay in touch. Sierra Club, the oldest, ...read more

The Sierra Club Announces “The Best Internship on Earth” for 2011

The Sierra Club has opened up applications for the second year of the wildly popular “Best Internship on Earth” for the summer of 2011. Students and recent graduates around the country are vying to spend the summer as the Sierra Club's Youth Outdoors Ambassador, hiking, ...read more

Join the “Wild” Sierra Club Trails June Photo Contest

The June Sierra Club TRAILS photo contest is now open and the theme is “wild!” You won’t get lost if you join the Monthly Photo Contest on TRAILS and enter to win a SPOT II Satellite GPS Messenger plus 12 months basic and track progress service ($319.97 value). Individuals can ...read more

Sierra Club names new Executive Director

The Sierra Club, the nation’s largest and oldest environmental advocacy group, has named Michael Brune to its top leadership role. Brune is a longtime environmental organizer who has headed the Rainforest Action Network for the last seven years. “The Sierra Club has evolved in ...read more

Go Higher and Deeper in Sierra Magazine's Winter Sports Travel Issue

Jeremy Jones, widely regarded as the best big-mountain snowboarder on the planet, now climbs his way to the top instead of using helicopters, snow cats or chairlifts. In the featured article, “Higher, Deeper,” Jones shares his desire to ascend slowly for a richer experience and ...read more