tagged w/ mountaintop removal
Appalachian communities are suffering as a result of mountaintop removal mining. Earthjustice is working through the courts to protect Appalachian communities from this destructive practice and to ensure the Clean Water Act is enforced.Appalachian communities are suffering as a result of mountaintop removal mining.... more
When the Environmental Protection Agency declared this year on September 11 that all pending mountaintop removal mining permits in four Appalachian states stood in violation of the Clean Water Act and required further review, Lora Webb didn't have time to join in any celebrations. As she and her husband, Steve, a coal miner, packed up their possessions and left his family's ancestral property outside Lindytown, West Virginia, Lora was more concerned about finding a place to sleep that night.
For the past few years, ever since a massive twenty-story dragline landed on a ridge near their home, the Webbs had endured twice-daily, bone-rattling explosions and the quasi-apocalyptic storms of coal dust and fly rock that blanketed their home and garden. Lindytown's creeks and mountain hollows no longer exist, and a once-thriving community has been reduced to a ghost town. "It's unreal. It's like we're living in a war zone," Lora Webb told a local newspaper last fall.
By the spring of this year, the Webbs were one of the last holdouts in the area. Hoping to avoid displacement, they pleaded with the West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection (WVDEP) and various federal agencies to enforce mining laws. Lora Webb even toted a jar of coal dust to Capitol Hill. In the end, though, they threw up their hands in bewilderment at the government's inaction and sold their beloved home to Massey Energy, the Richmond-based corporation that runs the nearby Twilight mountaintop removal site. Then they were issued a sixty-day order to evacuate.
The temporarily homeless Webbs are a stark example that mountaintop removal does more than "likely cause water quality impacts," as the EPA has determined. More than 3.5 million pounds of explosives rip daily across the ridges and historic mountain communities in West Virginia; a similar amount of explosives are employed in eastern Kentucky, southwestern Virginia and eastern Tennessee. Mountaintop removal operations have destroyed more than 500 mountains and 1.2 million acres of forest in our nation's oldest and most diverse range, and jammed more than 1,200 miles of streams with mining waste.
In cautious but no uncertain terms, the Obama administration has finally acknowledged these hazards, and has taken some important steps toward mitigating the damage. On June 11 the Council on Environmental Quality chief, Nancy Sutley, declared that the administration "has serious concerns about the impacts of mountaintop coal mining on our natural resources and on the health and welfare of the Appalachian communities."
more at link...When the Environmental Protection Agency declared this year on September 11 that all... more
Mountaintop removal is a controversial type of coal mining in Appalachia. Here are some voices for and against it.Mountaintop removal is a controversial type of coal mining in Appalachia. Here are... more
A temporary delay or some hope?
"Published on Saturday, September 12, 2009 by The Nation
EPA Turns the Lights on Mountaintop Removal
by Jeff Biggers
The Environmental Protection Agency made good on its promise today to assert greater scrutiny and "use the best science and follow the letter of the law" with regard to controversial mountaintop removal mining permits in the Appalachian coalfields. In a highly anticipated announcement, the agency declared that all seventy-nine pending permits in four states would "likely cause water quality impacts" and sent them on for additional review under the Clean Water Act.
Does today's big announcement end the practice of mountaintop removal--which has clear-cut more than 1.2 million acres of deciduous forests, employed billions of pounds of ammonium nitrate/fuel oil explosives to blow up 500 mountains, packed and sullied an estimated 2,000 miles of streams with mining waste, and left coalfield communities in economic ruin?
The short answer from the EPA: no.
But while the agency has gone out of its way to make clear that this announcement does not "constitute a change" in policy or usurp the Army Corps of Engineers's authority over such permits, today's news comes as a telling harbinger that the rule of science, law and interagency cooperation just might be returning to the Appalachian coalfields.
"The administration pledged earlier this year to improve review of mining projects that risked harming water quality," EPA administrator Lisa Jackson announced in a statement. "Release of this preliminary list is the first step in a process to assure that the environmental concerns raised by the seventy-nine permit applications are addressed and that permits issued are protective of water quality and affected ecosystems."
According to the EPA, this preliminary list of projects will be evaluated over the next 15 days, at which time "issues of concern regarding particular permit applications will be addressed during a 60-day review process triggered when the Corps informs EPA that a particular permit is ready for discussion."
For many in Appalachia, the announcement is a watershed of sorts, a strong signal that the Obama administration intends to consider scientific data in its decision-making rather than simply to succumb to century-old pressure by the Big Coal lobby and entrenched coalfield politicians. It is also, as Stephanie Pistello, national field director of Appalachian Voices and legislative associate at the Alliance for Appalachia, points out, "a testament to the spadework of coalfield residents" who have struggled to document and protest the Clean Water Act violations that have done such harm to their communities. "By coming to Washington, DC, to meet with EPA officials, among others, affected coalfield residents have played an important role in bringing the truth out of the darkness of Big Coal public relations," she said.
Pistello added, "We applaud the new leadership at the Army Corps of Engineers, assistant secretary Jo-Ellen Darcy and principal deputy assistant secretary Terrence 'Rock' Salt, for working with EPA and bringing a community and environmental focus to their work."
The news came as a bit of a surprise to some coalfield activists. "Since January we've been skeptical about how serious the new administration would be about addressing mountaintop removal," said Teri Blanton of Kentuckians for the Commonwealth, a citizens' organization in the state where more than half of the designated permits are located. "It looks like EPA is prepared to do everything it can, within the existing regulatory framework, to protect the mountains and people of Appalachia. This is great news, but it will take more than regulations to end the destruction. Mountaintop removal and valley fills should be banned."A temporary delay or some hope?
"Published on Saturday, September 12, 2009 by... more
Groups Ask That Verizon Wireless Withdraw Support of Controversial,
Climate-change Denying Labor Day Event
FLAGSTAFF, Ariz.— Today a coalition of groups led by the Center for Biological Diversity sent a letter to Verizon Wireless asking the corporation to withdraw its sponsorship of a Labor Day rally being held in West Virginia to support mountaintop removal coal mining and oppose climate legislation. The groups represent millions of members and include Natural Resources Defense Council, Defenders of Wildlife, Rainforest Action Network, Greenpeace USA, Friends of the Earth, Appalachian Voices, Christians Caring for Creation, and many others.
“Verizon Wireless may say they’re an environmentally friendly company http://aboutus.vzw.com/Green_Initiative/overview.html but their mouth isn’t where their money is. Verizon Wireless is now aware that they paid money to sponsor an event that celebrates mountaintop removal coal mining, and they have not withdrawn their sponsorship. They can keep saying they’re a friend to the environment until they’re green in the face, but there’s just no environmentally friendly way to blow up mountains and dump them into streams,” said Tierra Curry, a biologist at the Center for Biological Diversity.
More groups are expected to sign on to the letter, which will be updated on Monday. As of Friday morning, nearly 80,000 concerned citizens had submitted letters to Verizon Wireless through CREDO Action and the Center asking the company to withdraw its sponsorship of the event. Other groups have also launched action alerts to their membership.
As current customers of Verizon Wireless, several of the groups have expressed their concern to the company about its support for the mountaintop removal rally, including the Center for Biological Diversity, Defenders of Wildlife, Natural Resources Defense Council, Ohio Valley Environmental Coalition, and Grand Canyon Wildlands Council, and intend to reevaluate their relationship with Verizon Wireless.
Activists pressure Verizon Wireless to hang up on bad coal connection. http://www.biologicaldiversity.org/news/press_releases/2009/verizon-09-02-2009.html
Verizon Wireless faces boycott for supporting mountaintop removal.
http://www.biologicaldiversity.org/news/press_releases/2009/verizon-09-01-2009.htmlGroups Ask That Verizon Wireless Withdraw Support of Controversial,
Mountaintop removal depends on financing from America's leading banks and approval from government regulators.
So far the Obama administration has not backed down from supporting mountaintop removal and without a significant change in the government's mountaintop removal policy, mining companies will continue to destroy mountain ranges and bury Appalachia's drinking water in toxic waste.
Today you can help by asking the administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency, Lisa Jackson, to visit Appalachia and see the destruction caused by mountaintop removal for herself.
When you see with your owns eyes the way this horrific practice is ravaging the people, water and land of Appalachia it is impossible not to feel compelled to stop it.
Please, send a letter to EPA Administrator Jackson.Mountaintop removal depends on financing from America's leading banks and... more
Go to link above for petition: This one is from the Rainforest Action Network which some of you have already signed...
Tell the EPA to Stop Mountaintop Removal
Earlier this week the Environmental Protection Agency announced that they'd be delaying and reviewing two permits for mountaintop removal mining operations and calling into question more that 100 pending permits that threaten mountains, waterways and communities across Appalachia.
But one day after the big announcement, the EPA released a clarification saying that although the permits were under review, they expected that "the bulk of these pending permit applications will not raise environmental concerns."
Because Big Coal has some deep pockets.
Send a letter to Lisa Jackson, the head of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) asking her to stand up to industry pressure and support a permanent moratorium on mountaintop removal coal mining.Go to link above for petition: This one is from the Rainforest Action Network which... more
"That might sound like an eco-terrorist's threat, but they're actually the words of Eneas Salati, one of Brazil's most respected scientists. Thomas Lovejoy, a leading American biologist, is equally emphatic: "Roads are the seeds of tropical forest destruction."
They are quite right. Roads are rainforest killers. Without rampant road expansion, tropical forests around the world would not be vanishing at a rate of 50 football fields a minute, an assault that imperils myriad species and spews billions of tonnes of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere each year. We will never devise effective strategies to slow rainforest destruction unless we confront this reality."
"Why are roads so bad for rainforests? Tropical forests have a uniquely complex structure and humid, dark microclimate that sustain a huge number of endemic species. Many of these avoid altered habitats near roads and cannot traverse even narrow road clearings. Others run the risk of being hit by vehicles or killed by people hunting near roads. This can result in diminished or fragmented wildlife populations, and can lead to local extinctions.
In remote frontier areas, where law enforcement is often weak, new roads can open a Pandora's box of other problems, such as illegal logging, colonisation and land speculation. In Brazilian Amazonia, 95 per cent of deforestation and fires occur within 50 kilometres of roads. In Suriname, most illegal gold mines are located near roads. In tropical Africa, hunting is significantly more intensive near roads."
Join ORGANIC to fight for a better and green World, discuss alternatives, imagining and creating solutions:
http://current.com/groups/organicgreen/"That might sound like an eco-terrorist's threat, but they're actually... more
Urgent 911 to EPA, OSM: Fearless Tree-Sit in Coal Blasting Area Calls Out WV DEP Scandal and Failed Regulations
by Jeff Biggers
In a stunning blow to mountaintop removal blasting operations in the Coal River Valley of West Virginia this morning, two fearless protesters scaled massive trees and unfurled banners from their 80-foot-high platforms. Within 300 feet of the Massey Energy's Edwight mountaintop removal blasting site, above Pettry Bottom and Peachtree in Raleigh County, West Virginia, the protesters called on the federal agencies to crack down on the scandal-ridden West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection (WV DEP) and the stop the unsafe and reckless blasting in the area.
As part of a growing coalfield uprising, this dauntless action has brought the gripping images and realities of the mountaintop removal nightmare in the Appalachian coalfields to the Beltway-bound offices of the EPA, the Council on Environmental Quality and the transitioning Office of Surface Mining.
Mired in scandal, the WV DEP has been the focus of a series of protests, complaints and growing internal dissent recently. Outraged coalfield residents and protesters even changed themselves to the DEP offices in Charleston, WV this month : http://www.huffingtonpost.com/jeff-biggers/breaking-coalfield-uprisi_b_256415.html
Last Friday, Charleston Gazette reporter Ken Ward broke the story on a blockbuster internal memo from a WV DEP biologist that criticized the agency head Randy Huffman for his gross oversight over "the long-lasting adverse impacts" of mountaintop removal mining that are "indeed significant."
As the 13th direct action in the coalfields this year, today's daring protest raises the stakes in the coalfield uprising, as residents called on federal regulators to respond to the failed state agency's lack of enforcement and its blatant circumvention of regulations, as millions pounds of ammonium nitrate/fuel oil explosives continue to blast every day in the lush mountain communities in West Virginia, Kentucky, Tennessee and southwestern Virginia.
"I am sitting in this tree to halt the blasting that endangers the residents of Pettry Bottom and Clays Branch," protester Laura Steepleton said. "The people of Pettry Bottom, Clays Branch are living below a land slide waiting to happen and the only barrier between fallen trees, mud, boulders and water and the Pettry Bottom community is a wooden stake and tarp fence. The DEP needs to step in and protect its citizens - not Massey Energy - stop the blasting above Petty Bottom, and end mountaintop removal."
Associated with the Climate Ground Zero and Mountain Justice campaigns, the tree sitters say they will not willingly descend until blasting ceases above Pettry Bottom, Massey Energy pays the full cost of healthcare and home repair for Pettry Bottom and Peachtree residents, and the Federal Office of Surface Mining commits to supervising the full reclamation of the Edwight mine.
Last month, Clay's Branch area resident Bo Webb wrote former Vice President Al Gore an urgent letter to intervene in the Coal River Valley. Webb described the nightmare of living in a blasting area and recounted how federal violations have been skirted by state environmental regulators, who openly sought to work around federal regulations:"
continued at link above, and/or more below...Urgent 911 to EPA, OSM: Fearless Tree-Sit in Coal Blasting Area Calls Out WV DEP... more
The Obama administration’s EPA announced a crackdown on mountaintop removal (MTR) mines back in March, and yet the approvals keep coming for new mines. No public announcements are made, and no documents released, but big coal gets to keep tearing off the tops of mountains, extracting the coal, then filling valleys with the waste.The Obama administration’s EPA announced a crackdown on mountaintop removal... more
Where's the outrage? Hello, Mr. Gore?
The Obama administration late last week quietly approved one of six major mountaintop removal permits that were said to be undergoing close scrutiny by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
Without announcing the move publicly, EPA gave the nod for the federal Army Corps of Engineers to issue a Clean Water Act permit for CONSOL Energy Inc.'s Peg Fork Surface Mine near Chattaroy in Mingo County.
EPA approved all eight valley fill waste piles originally proposed by CONSOL, provided that additional water testing is done before six of those fills are constructed, agency officials said.
Corps officials in Huntington approved the permit on Friday. Copies of key permit documents were not yet being made public, despite a promise from the Obama White House of increased transparency in the permit review process.
"We are disappointed that the administration has approved a new mountaintop removal mine without making any commitment to adopt new regulations or policies that would end this destructive practice," said Ed Hopkins, director of the Sierra Club's environmental quality program. "While we appreciate that the Obama administration is taking a harder look at mountaintop removal coal mining, unless that results in decisions that end the irreversible destruction of streams, the harder look isn't going to do the job."
After announcing a crackdown on mountaintop removal in late March, EPA administrator Lisa Jackson less than two months later cleared dozens of valley fill permits for issuance by the corps. Under federal law, the corps directly reviews these "dredge-and-fill" permits, but EPA has veto authority and is supposed to make sure the corps is doing a good job.Where's the outrage? Hello, Mr. Gore?
The Obama administration... more
The last ice age turned the Appalachians into North America's Noah's Ark.
The mountain peaks provided a last green refuge above the glaciers, drawing species from across the eastern half of continent. Some 10,000 years later, many have stayed, and the mountains are home to one of the highest concentrations of biodiversity -- from flying squirrels to freshwater mussels -- in the country. Just last month, biologists stumbled across an entire new genus of salamanders in Southern Appalachia, the first new vertebrate genus discovered in the United States in 50 years.
Beneath that biodiversity sits 28.5 billion tons of anthracite coal, according to 1998 Department of Energy estimates. The mineral is so central to the region's identity and economy that West Virginia last month declared it the official state rock.
The lucrative coal is obtained through mountaintop removal -- dynamiting the tops off the mountains and dumping the leftovers into mountain valleys and stream beds. Environmental groups say the practice is horribly destructive to the region's water, land and wildlife -- but they have been reluctant to use a powerful weapon, the Endangered Species Act, in fighting it.
The few national groups that have tried have run up against a special species review process for coal mining, and most have avoided it entirely for fear of upsetting a fragile partnership with their regional blue-collar allies.
As a result, the Appalachians have become something of a "national sacrifice area" to meet coal needs, said Tierra Curry, a biologist with the Center for Biological Diversity.
A different standard
The Endangered Species Act normally requires the Fish and Wildlife Service to formally review any federal authorized, funded or administered action that could negatively affect endangered or threatened species. FWS biologists study projects for possible effects to the species and then can recommend alternatives, mitigation measures or even that the projects be abandoned entirely.
Environmental groups frequently sue the Fish and Wildlife Service over the agency's reviews if they think it approves a project that does not pass muster under the Endangered Species Act. They famously did so in the 1990s to halt logging of old-growth forests in the Pacific Northwest on the grounds that it would harm the spotted owl.
But the review standard is waived for coal mining. Instead, Interior relies on a document known as the "1996 biological opinion."
In 1995, the Office of Surface Mining requested clarification on the Endangered Species Act's implications for their permitting and policymaking. In the resulting 15-page document, Fish and Wildlife Service officials argue that by following the environmental provisions laid out under the Surface Mining Law, mine operators ensure protection for all current or future endangered species. Therefore, the officials argued, Interior does not require a formal review from the Fish and Wildlife Service before issuing permits for coal mines.
more at the linkThe last ice age turned the Appalachians into North America's Noah's Ark.... more
When news first broke that North Carolina's ban wind turbines from being installed on mountains--on the grounds that they were too ugly--it generated some lively debate. But now, it appears the debate is over and the state senate has voted overwhelmingly in favor of the ban (a stunning 42 to1). And thus, large wind turbines will be left out cold--along with two thirds of the state's potential wind power capacity.
From Green Inc:
The 42-1 vote on Thursday represents the strongest stand against wind turbines taken by lawmakers in any state. The bill would amend a 1983 “ridge law” to allow only turbines that are 100 feet or smaller to be placed on ridgelines above 3,000 feet. This effectively bars industrial-sized turbines — which can reach several hundred feet in height — from the windy mountaintops.
This is just plain stupid. Mountaintop removal is still legal there. Wind is "too ugly", but ripping the tops off the mountains is fine.When news first broke that North Carolina's ban wind turbines from being... more
The coal industry front group embroiled in an Astroturf scandal is now arguing that mountaintop removal coal mining helps communities “hampered because of a lack of flat space.” Joe Lucas, vice president of communications for the American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity (ACCCE), told the Guardian that dynamiting the tops off of mountains — far from being the “rape of Appalachia” — is actually a boon to rural communities:
I can take you to places in eastern Kentucky where community services were hampered because of a lack of flat space — to build factories, to build hospitals, even to build schools. In many places, mountain-top mining, if done responsibly, allows for land to be developed for community space.
The concept of “responsible” mountain-top mining is laughable, as Mountain Justice explains:
Traditional mining communities disappear as jobs diminish and residents are driven away by dust, blasting and increased flooding and dangers from overloaded coal trucks careening down small, windy mountain roads. Mining companies buy many of the homes and tear them down. Dynamite is cheaper than people, so mountaintop removal mining does not create many new jobs.
Mountaintop removal generates huge amounts of waste. While the solid waste becomes valley fills, liquid waste is stored in massive, dangerous coal slurry impoundments, often built in the headwaters of a watershed. The slurry is a witch’s brew of water used to wash the coal for market, carcinogenic chemicals used in the washing process and coal fines (small particles) laden with all the compounds found in coal, including toxic heavy metals such as arsenic and mercury. Frequent blackwater spills from these impoundments choke the life out of streams.
ACCCE’s Joe Lucas — who can’t even admit that coal pollution contributes to global warming — is giving new meaning to the idea of the Flat Earth Society.The coal industry front group embroiled in an Astroturf scandal is now arguing that... more
3 years ago
The spread of mountaintop removal through central Appalachia in the past 15 years has given scientists the opportunity to study environmental destruction on a previously unthinkable scale: The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) estimates that by 2013 a forested area the size of Delaware will have been destroyed and that more than 1,200 miles of streams have already been severely damaged. As that footprint has grown, so has the evidence, outlined in peer-reviewed scientific papers and ongoing investigations, showing that the damage is far more extensive than previously understood.
The Obama administration’s approach puts pressure on coal companies to compromise with regulators to limit some of the more egregious impacts of mountaintop removal. That may have some effect, but it will be limited by the government’s balkanized regulatory scheme for coal mining, which dates to the 1970s and never contemplated the vast damage that results when mountains are demolished.
In the case of valley fills, for example, only the EPA has ecosystem-wide responsibility through the Clean Water Act which governs what may be dumped in streams and waterways. But the agency’s power is circumscribed; it shares authority with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, which actually grants the dumping permits and has taken a much more sympathetic view of the practice. The Interior Department, meanwhile, oversees mountaintop projects via another law, the Surface Mining Control and Reclamation Act.
Nevertheless, the White House is betting that mountaintop mining can be managed and the damage ultimately repaired. But the science indicates that such an incremental approach may never be effective. Mountaintop removal does damage on both vast and microscopic scales, from hydrological changes over hundreds of square miles to effects on the life cycles of the tiniest stream microbes. Overseeing the repair of such damage is beyond the capabilities of any government agency; the most serious impacts — to streams — may be all but impossible to fix.
Margaret Palmer, a biology professor at the University of Maryland, was part of a team of scientists that compiled a comprehensive database of 37,000 U.S. river and stream restoration projects. She found no record of any mining-related stream-building project that could be called ecologically successful.
much more at the link.
This is an excellent article, though sad to read. The damage coal companies have been allowed to get away with here is a crime of grand scale.The spread of mountaintop removal through central Appalachia in the past 15 years has... more
Mountaintop removal coal mining is the worst environmental
tragedy in American history. When will the Obama administration
finally stop this Appalachian apocalypse?
If ever an issue deserved President Obama's promise of change, this is
it. Mining syndicates are detonating 2,500 tons of explosives each day
-- the equivalent of a Hiroshima bomb weekly -- to blow up
Appalachia's mountains and extract sub-surface coal seams. They have
demolished 500 mountains -- encompassing about a million acres --
buried hundreds of valley streams under tons of rubble, poisoned and
uprooted countless communities, and caused widespread contamination to
the region's air and water. On this continent, only Appalachia's rich
woodlands survived the Pleistocene ice ages that turned the rest of
North America into a treeless tundra. King Coal is now accomplishing
what the glaciers could not -- obliterating the hemisphere's oldest,
most biologically dense and diverse forests. Highly mechanized
processes allow giant machines to flatten in months mountains older
than the Himalayas -- while employing fewer workers for far less time
than other types of mining. The coal industry's promise to restore the
desolate wastelands is a cruel joke, and the industry's fallback
position, that the flattened landscapes will provide space for
economic development, is the weak punchline. America adores its
Adirondacks and reveres the Rockies, while the Appalachian Mountains
-- with their impoverished and alienated population -- are dismantled
by coal moguls who dominate state politics and have little to prevent
them from blasting the physical landscape to smithereens.
Obama promised science-based policies that would save what remains of
Appalachia, but last month senior administration officials finally
weighed in with a mixture of strong words and weak action that broke
hearts across the region. The modest measures federal bureaucrats
promised amount to little more than a tepid pledge of better
enforcement of existing laws.
And government claims of doing everything possible to halt the
holocaust are simply not true. George Bush gutted Clean Water Act
protections. Obama must restore them.
more at the link.Mountaintop removal coal mining is the worst environmental
tragedy in American... more
James Hansen, NASA's chief climate scientist, was arrested Last Tuesday while protesting against mountaintop coal mining in West Virginia.James Hansen, NASA's chief climate scientist, was arrested Last Tuesday while... more
Nancy Sutley, chair of the White House Council on Environmental Quality, talks to Grist about coal, mountaintop removal, and the best part about working in the Obama administration. More from the interview:
http://www.grist.org/article/2009-06-24-ceq-nancy-sutley-interview/Nancy Sutley, chair of the White House Council on Environmental Quality, talks to... more
Mountaintop removal coal mining is causing "immense and irreversible" damage to Appalachian hills, streams and forests, members of a U.S. Senate subcommittee were told Thursday.
A federal regulator joined a university expert, a West Virginia activist and a Tennessee environmental commissioner in criticizing large-scale strip mining's impacts, as lawmakers consider a bipartisan bill that would curb the practice.
"We must consider the cost of coal from the cradle to the grave," said Maria Gunnoe, a Boone County native who won the international Goldman Prize for her anti-mining activism. "We have the opportunity to stop the annihilation of mountains and people by mountaintop removal and to change the history of energy in this country."
Margaret Palmer, a University of Maryland ecologist who has been studying mountaintop removal's impacts, explained that scientists have clearly documented the damage being done.
"The mountain summits that are removed to reach the coal may not have the same shape or height they previously did, the streams that are buried when rocks and dirt are dumped over the side of the mountain into the valleys below are gone forever, and there is no evidence to date that mitigation actions can compensate for the lost natural resources and ecological functions of the headwater streams that are buried," Palmer told lawmakers.
Palmer and Gunnoe were among those who testified in a Senate Environmental and Public Works subcommittee hearing scheduled to examine mountaintop removal, the Obama administration's plans for regulating it, and legislation that would outlaw most -- if not all -- valley fills.
The only witness who defended mountaintop removal was Randy Huffman, who as secretary of the state Department of Environmental Protection is the Manchin administration's top strip-mining regulator.
end of excerpt.Mountaintop removal coal mining is causing "immense and irreversible" damage... more