In 2002, Cheney came up with the "Halliburton Loophole," which subverted The Clean Water Act and allowed mining companies to dump their toxic and dangerous mining waste directly into the lakes, rivers and streams. By redefining "fill material," the Bush administration opened the floodgates for coal mines in Appalachia to destroy streams with the waste created by mountain top mining. In 2004, the Bush administration expanded that loophole to allow even more dangerous dumping of toxic mine "tailings"—the chemically processed wastewater slurry from extracting gold and other metals.
Alaska's Lower Slate Lake, before chemically processed waste from
the Kensington Mine was stored there, and after.
In Alaska, a new gold mine is pumping hundreds of thousands of gallons per day of toxic wastewater slurry into Lower Slate Lake, killing its fish and aquatic life. High gold and metal prices have triggered a mining boom that, without stronger regulation, threatens countless lakes, streams and wetlands in Alaska and throughout the country.
Alaska's Lower Slate Lake, before chemically processed waste from the Kensington Mine
was stored there, and after. ('Before' Photo by Pat Costello and courtesy of LightHawk).
The Obama administration must close this loophole, now, and restore protections for our waters. Clean, safe, healthy water for all Americans must take priority over corporate interests. Please write to the Obama administration and tell them to close this loophole and stop the dumping of mining waste into our waters: http://action.earthjustice.org/site/Advocacy?pagename=homepage&page=UserAction&id=1135&autologin=true
Polluted Cabin Creek, near Leewood, West Virginia. (Mark Schmerling)