Obama has been tip-toeing around the idea of taking action to end mountaintop removal — but his administration has made a bonehead move that shows they may not be serious about protecting communities from outlaw mining companies — Joe Pizarchik, his nominee for the Director of the Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement (OSMRE) has repeatedly disenfranchised citizens during his time in Pennsylvania and ignored good science to allow companies to continue poisoning communities with coal combustion waste, as well as turning a blind eye to terrible long wall mining. Not a good sign.
Laws are only as good as they are enforced. We can make all the rules we want regarding mountaintop removal, but the Director of the OSMRE makes sure coal companies follow them — and do something to clean up the mess afterwards. Pizarchik is not going to do that.
In an attempt to rush through this terrible nominee, on August 6th, 2009, The US Senate Energy and Natural Resources committee will hold hearings to consider Joseph Pizarchik for the position of Director of the Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement (OSMRE). To prevent further damage and to ensure proper reclamation, we need someone who is not from an agency with a history of lack of enforcement or calling for a weakening of standards.