Dirty coal’s war on clean water

Murray Energy, the third largest coal company in the nation, recently filed a lawsuit to derail the biggest step to protect clean water in more than a decade.

Sara E Smith

I know I’m not the only Austinite who escapes the hot summer sun by spending a lazy Sunday swimming at Barton Springs pool, tubing down the San Marcos River with a group of friends or jumping into the flowing water at the Greenbelt after a long hike. That’s why I was thrilled to see the Obama administration close loopholes in the Clean Water Act that have allowed polluters to turn out waterways into their own personal septic tanks for the past decade.

The Clean Water Rule, issued last month, will guarantee federal safeguards to all of the headwaters and streams that help keep Barton Springs and the Colorado River clean. It will restore similar protections to 143,000 miles of streams that feed the drinking water sources for 11.5 million people across our state.

Despite this, Murray Energy, the third largest coal company in the nation, recently filed a lawsuit to derail this critical step in the fight for clean water.

The company is also attacking the rule in the court of public opinion, using hyperbole and fear to denounce what they call “an unprecedented expansion in federal regulatory authority (that) results in one of the largest land grabs by the federal government in this nation’s history.”

It’s bad enough when coal companies pollute our rivers and streams, destroying the places we treasure bit by bit, but now Murray is mucking around in our courts?

The rule is a common-sense, science-based way to protect our streams, lakes, wetlands, and drinking water from pollution and degradation.

Not only is clean water important to the health and welfare of all Americans, it’s also important to the economy. Especially in a state like Texas, our waterways and wetlands are enormous economic drivers. They play a huge role in the success of our fishing, hunting, agriculture, recreation, energy and manufacturing industries.

We can’t drink Murray Energy’s profits, but we can work together to ensure that we’re protecting our health, our environment and our economy by preserving clean water. Drop the lawsuit, Murray Energy, you’ve already done enough.  

Click here to tell Murray Energy to stop muddying the waters in our courts.


Sara E Smith