Thursday, March 26, 2009

EPA recommends halting some mountaintop mining permits; Obama administration may stop practice altogether

The Environmental Protection Agency has sent letter to the US Army Corps of Engineers in Huntington W Va recommending that at least two permits for mountaintop strip mining be denied. The link for the letters is here.

The coal industry maintains that the administration is putting thousands of high paying and usually union jobs at risk.

A blog entry by Marianne Lavelle and Aaron Mehta, “Has mountaintop mining peaked” appeared on Center for Public Integrity website yesterday March 25, 2009, link here. The story was circulated by email this morning by the Center.

Robert F. Kennedy Jr. has an op-ed on p A15 of The Washington Post today, “Hope in the Mountains”, link here . According to Kennedy, the Obama administration has indeed issued a moratorium on mountaintop mining permits. This confirms a "rumor" stated Tuesday here.

There is a site called “The Mountaintop Removal Road Show” with a stunning slide show here.

The picture above (Martin County, KY) is in Wikimedia Commons and was released for public use by the owner (named Flashdark: “permission is granted” is written on Wikipedia), but comes from that site. The closest mine that I have seen personally to this site is in Inez, KY (in 1972) (a town in that county).

As far back as 1970, the media was warning about strip mining, that one day could remove perhaps a couple thousand feet of mountains ridges. Some ridges have been shaved by over 1000 feet, with Midwestern-like land resulting after reclamation. A representative from Kentucky said “my beautiful state is being destroyed”.

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