Ravaging Appalachia

Monday, August 27, 2007

Ravaging Appalachia

On Friday, the Interior Department’s Office of Surface Mining proposed new regulations that it hopes will permanently legalize mountaintop mining — a cheap, ruthlessly efficient, environmentally destructive means of mining coal from the mountains of Appalachia (Mountaintop mining is basically high-altitude strip mining).

By our count, this is the third attempt in the last six years to enshrine the practice by insulating it from legal challenge. But since the net result is likely to be more confusion and more courtroom wrestling, the situation cries out for Congressional intervention to define once and for all what mining companies can and cannot do.

Mountaintop mining is basically high-altitude strip mining. Enormous machines scrape away the ridges to get at the coal seams below. The residual rock and dirt are then dumped or carted down the mountainside into nearby valleys and streams. By one estimate, this serial decapitation of Appalachia’s coal-rich hills has already buried 1,200 miles of streams while damaging hundreds of square miles of forests.

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Related: Add your voices to I Love Mountains and the movement to stop mountaintop removal coal mining.

As Vernon Haltom, co-director of Coal River Mountain Watch, told Democracy Now radio, "what this rule change amounts to is a declaration of war against the Appalachian people."

See photo of ravaged mountaintop in West Virginia right here.


brooke Thu Aug 30, 11:36:00 PM EDT  

Oh Susan. This just makes me sad. I grew up in the New River Valley, on the New River outside Blacksburg, on the New River Gorge in West Va, the Nantahala in NC, the Ocoee, the Chattooga, and the Appalachain Trail. My childhood is scattered all over those mountains. I'll go sign up at that website. Honestly, I think we should tear the roofs off all the houses of those who are putting this into policy. See what they think of a home destroyed.

Susan Sat Sep 01, 11:30:00 AM EDT  

You would know more than most the devastation MTR (mountaintop removal) has on its people. These folks have been hollering for years about the injustice of it all but no one is listening. Thanks for stopping by, Brooke.


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