Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Lame-duck Bush administration relaxes rules for "mountaintop removal" strip mines


Juliet Eilperin reports on p A6 of the Washington Post today that the Bush administration is finalizing rules that will make it easier for coal companies to deposit overburden from strip mines near streams. The title of the story is “Rule Would Ease Mining Debris Disposal: Environmentalists Fear Streams Will Be Harmed” link here. The story is accompanied by a graphic color picture (photograph) from a ridge or mountaintop mine at Mud River, W VA (in the southern part of the state), which looks like a Mars-scape except for one splotch of green.

Mountaintop removal has been particularly controversial, gradually “flattening” some regions of western Appalachia almost as in Isaiah!

Coal companies claim that the new regulations will only allow them to fill in near very small and inconsequential streams.

While strip mining has become increasingly controversial ever since the late 60s, it was common even in the 50s, with some topographical hiking maps from West Virginia even then showing old strip mines.

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