Sunday, October 17, 2010

EPA may nix new large mountaintop strip mine near Charleston, W VA

On Saturday, Oct. 16, the New York Times reported, in a story on p A8 by John Broder, “E.P.A. Official Seeks to Block West Virginia Mine”, link here.

The administrator is Shawn M. Garvin, and apparently he says the proposed Spruce Mine in Logan County W Va (south of Charleston, more or less in the western part of the Alleghenies), which would involve about 4 more square miles of mountaintop removal and waste spilling, near the controversial Kayford Mountain mine (link ) .

Generally, the largest surface mines are some distance west of the Eastern Continental Divide, along what is called “Allegheny Mountain” from Pennsylvania down through West Virginia and eastern Kentucky, often in areas starting at about 2500 feet above sea level. But there are some old, largely reclaimed surface mines near Mt. Storm (not far from the Canaan Valley and Blackwater Falls), some near Frostburg Md (visible from US 40 but not from I-68), and some old mines seem to be visible along the Pennsylvania Turnpike in the Laurel mountains, and apparently some can be seen west of Penn State. Apparently Flight 93 crashed in an old, but shallow strip mine, about 10 miles from the Allegheny Mountain tunnel. Coal fields, as well as gas wells and even some oil, continue throughout Ohio, Indiana and into Illinois.  Some individual farm and land owners (and many retirees), even in the Great Lakes watershed areas, have depended on these for income in this part of the country. Surface recovery operations become much less destructive as “Appalachia” gradually flattens out further west. Another irony is that in all of the “Allegheny” states, wind mills are being erected along the Allegheny Front and some other higher ridges including Laurel in PA.

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