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E-M:/ Sierra Club to launch Ad campaign, Condemns Bush's Latest Attack on Environment



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Enviro-Mich message from "Daniel Farough" <daniel.farough@sierraclub.org>
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For Immediate Release
March 21, 2001

Contact:
David Willett, 202-675-6698


Sierra Club Condemns Bush's Latest Attack on Environment
Will Launch Two-Month Ad and Organizing Campaign

Washington, DC: In a move that threatens drinking and surface water quality
in a number of states, the Bush Administration is suspending new rules to
protect the environment and taxpayers from pollution caused by the hardrock
mining industry.  The irresponsible move is the latest in a series of
actions that demonstrate the Bush administration is beholden to special
interests and is out of touch with the needs of the American people.

The Sierra Club also announced today it is beginning a focused two-month
advertising and organizing campaign designed to inform Americans about the
need to make economically
and environmentally wise choices about our nation's energy future.  The ad
campaign will also raise awareness about the threats to our water, air and
wildlands created by
recent and irresponsible Bush Administration attacks on environmental
protections.  This campaign will be the focus of Sierra Club's activities
leading up to and including Earthday, and will culminate in an assessment
of Bush's first hundred days in office.

"Bush is attacking the environment by land, water, and air," said Carl
Pope, Executive Director of the Sierra Club.  "His suspension of mining
rules is the latest in a recent string of assaults on the environment and
is a gift to the polluting mining industry, paid for by taxpayers.  This
decision comes directly on the heels of another boon to the mining
industry--the Administration's announcement that it would not lower the
standard for arsenic in drinking water."

"Once again, Bush is putting the demands of industry over the health and
safety of the American people and our environment," continued Pope.

The Bush Administration's latest action will allow the mining industry to
continue polluting 40 percent of the headwaters of Western streams,
contaminating drinking water supplies with arsenic, lead and other toxic
substances.  The suspended rules would have addressed the mining industry's
legacy of pollution by establishing meaningful environmental performance
standards that better protect groundwater and surface water and require
reclamation of mined lands.  In addition, the rules require mining
operators post adequate cleanup funds before mining begins to guarantee
that taxpayers don't foot the bill if mining companies fail to clean up.
These new rules were the result of a four-year public comment period.

Hardrock mining has resulted in 557,000 abandoned mine sites unreclaimed.
Sixty-six of those sites are so polluted that they are on the Superfund
priority cleanup list.  Mining has contaminated  more than 12,000 miles of
US rivers.

"Interior Secretary Gale Norton should understand why the mining industry
requires tougher environmental protections," said Ed Hopkins, Director of
Sierra Club's Environmental Quality Program.  "As Colorado's attorney
general she saw firsthand the problems caused by weak regulations and
irresponsible mining companies, pursuing liable parties associated with the
1992 Summitville mine disaster in which a 17-mile stretch of the Alamosa
River was rendered lifeless by cyanide and heavy metal poisoning.
Summitville ultimately cost taxpayers $170 million in environmental cleanup
costs."

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