Date: Mon, 04/05/2010 For Immediate Release Contact: Erin Mooney, National Press Secretary 703-284-9408 TU Commends EPA for Strengthening Environmental Permitting Requirements for Mountaintop Removal Mining New requirements aim to protect Appalachian waterways. ARLINGTON, VA.--Trout Unlimited (TU) commends the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for its announcement yesterday that it plans to strengthen environmental permitting requirements for mountaintop removal mining in Appalachia. The new EPA plan will improve implementation of Clean Water Act regulations to better protect mountain streams from mountaintop removal, improve scientific understanding of the impacts of mountaintop removal on watersheds and people. In addition, the EPA vows to provide more transparency to the often obtuse mine permitting process. "This is a much needed first step towards protecting our watersheds, streams and water quality throughout Appalachia," said Bryan Moore, TU's Vice President of Volunteer Operations and Watersheds. "Mountaintop removal mining is a devastating threat to rivers and streams in Appalachia. With increased EPA enforcement, we hope the abhorrent practice of mountaintop removal mining can be stopped." Mountaintop removal mining has buried or degraded nearly 2,000 miles of Appalachian streams to date as well as caused additional harm to downstream areas by introducing sediment pollution, altering stream hydrology and increasing flooding. Mountaintop removal mining practices create a survival risk for brook trout and other wild trout populations, and impede efforts to restore brook trout in already degraded watersheds. Brook trout, the only trout native to the East, currently live in only a fraction of their original range. Trout Unlimited is the nation's largest coldwater conservation organization, with 140,000 members dedicated to conserving, protecting, and restoring North America's trout and salmon fisheries and their watersheds.