Subject: Mountaintop Removal Mining's Defeat Is the Environment's Victory!!
Date: Thu, 09 Dec 1999 07:42:42 GMT

TO: All Environmental Defense Activists
FROM: Elizabeth Thompson, Legislative Director and Azur
Moulaert, Member Action Network Project Manager
DATE: Wednesday, December 08, 1999

Mountaintop Removal Mining's Defeat Is the Environment's Victory!!

Thank you, Environmental Defense Activists, for your help in 
defeating Senator Robert Byrd's (D-WV) disastrous rider 
approving mountaintop removal mining. You overwhelmingly 
responded to our action alert on this issue, using your 
computer to send nearly 4,000 personalized letters to 
President Clinton urging him to veto Senator Byrd's rider 
if it passed intact.  This grassroots response was enough
to prevent Senator Byrd and the Senate from giving the 
mining industry a dangerous exemption from the Clean Water 

This was a rare loss for Senator Byrd. All he was able 
to get was an unusual and largely symbolic vote (56 to 33) 
in the Senate when his proposal was attached to a resolution 
that the senators knew would not become law. Senator Paul 
Wellstone (D-MN) courageously risked Byrd's wrath by 
speaking against the proposal on the Senate floor. The House 
of Representatives never even considered the rider. Critical 
were the efforts of House members, particularly those 
moderate Republicans who consistently vote against anti-
environment riders. Congress's opposition to Byrd's proposal 
was, no doubt, a response to their constituents' opposition. 
The rider will most likely not be included in the final 
version of the FY 2000 appropriations bill, and the Clinton 
administration has promised to veto any legislation 
containing it.

Nonetheless, other anti-environmental riders are still 
attached to the omnibus appropriations bill, and Senator 
Byrd will almost certainly introduce this same proposal 
again when Congress reconvenes in January. So we cannot 
relax completely. But if Byrd's rider had passed, it would 
have set a precedent for other industries to exploit in the 
future, and we thank you for not allowing this to happen.

Again thank you for all your help.


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