Commonwealth Journal

Local News

May 13, 2013

Joanne G. Hill lobbies to save mountaintops

Meets with Hal Rogers' office

(Continued)

Burnside —

One of the key people that those participating wanted to have a word with was Somerset’s own Congressman Harold “Hal” Rogers, the Republican U.S. Representative from the Fifth District in Kentucky, representing the mountain region of the state.
Hill said on her visit to Rogers’ office, the Congressman came in while the activists were talking with his staffer Travis Cone. Rogers took the time to listen to children the group brought along tell him all about the harmful effects of mountaintop removal, and had his picture taken with the youth, said Hill.
“Then Hal had his picture made with Teri Blanton and myself,” said Hill “Teri Blanton was one of the people that was arrested last year during the sit-in at Hal’s office when we demanded him to meet with us, but were refused.”
According to Hill, Rogers declined to meet with Blanton and herself that day on the mountaintop removal issue, but they did discuss “several issues” with Cone, a legislative assistant, including her fear of the Sloans Valley cave system in southern Pulaski being at risk from mining destruction.
The answers Hill and her fellow activists got were — according to her — not what they wanted to hear.
“Travis Cone gave no one any good news,” she said. “(He) only defended putting the EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) down for doing their job and protecting us.”
Hill also met with Third District Congressman John Yarmuth, a Louisville Democrat, and Lewis County Republican Thomas Massie, the Fourth District Representative. “That was a good lobbying visit,” she said. “... We talked about supporting the Clean Water Protection Act.”
Introduced a few years back, the Clean Water Protection Act would mandate that fill material cannot be comprised of mining waste. 
“Passing this legislation would protect the nation's rivers, streams and lakes from being used as dumps for mining waste. “It’s a simple piece of legislation ... saving also the destruction of the Appalachian Mountains that are left standing proud.”

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