Controversial Pizarchik Surface Mining Nomination Advances

Controversial Pizarchik Surface Mining Nomination Advances

For Immediate Release

Contact: Nick Berning, 202-222-0748 Ben Schreiber, 202-222-0752

Controversial Pizarchik Surface Mining Nomination Advances Out of Committee; Key Democrats Voice Opposition

Washington, D.C. — The nomination of Joseph Pizarchik to the head the federal Office of Surface Mining, Reclamation and Enforcement advanced out of the Energy and Natural Resources Committee today by voice vote.

The nomination has come under fire from groups concerned by Pizarchik’s poor environmental and human health record during his tenure at the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection’s Bureau of Mining and Reclamation. Pizarchik had a record of siding with the coal industry on issues including the improper dumping of toxic coal combustion waste and the regulation of long-wall mining.

Because of this poor record, three Democratic Senators entered statements into the record opposing Pizarchik’s nomination during today’s vote.

Friends of the Earth President Erich Pica had the following statement in response:

“Joseph Pizarchik is the wrong person to fill this critical position. As a state-level official in Pennsylvania, he was far too cozy with the coal industry, making decisions that harmed the environment and threatened drinking water. He should not be put in charge of a federal office responsible for regulating the coal industry. Friends of the Earth urges President Obama to withdraw this flawed nomination.

“Friends of the Earth thanks Senators Robert Menendez, Bernard Sanders, and Ron Wyden for their opposition to Pizarchik’s nomination. We strongly urge all senators to follow their leadership if this nomination comes to the Senate floor.”

The Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement is responsible for monitoring and enforcing the Surface Mining Control and Reclamation Act. This ground-breaking law is the primary law used to regulate coal mining and to protect lands and waters that are adversely affected by coal mining. Over the past two decades enforcement of this law and related Clean Water Act regulations has been lax, leading to an acceleration of the practice of mountaintop removal mining in Appalachia.

Friends of the Earth sent the following letter opposing this nomination to senators on August 5t /friends-earth-opposes-obama-nominee-office-surface-mining.


Friends of the Earth and our network of grassroots groups in 77 countries fight to create a more healthy, just world. We’re progressive environmental advocates who pull no punches and speak sometimes uncomfortable truths to power. Our current campaigns focus on clean energy and solutions to global warming, protecting people from toxic and new, potentially harmful technologies, and promoting smarter, low-pollution transportation alternatives.

Related News Releases