Friday, August 24, 2007

BushCo wants to give break to strip miners

Look at these gorgeous mountains. I could not imagine cutting them up.

*and a hattip to Robin Andrea for the pic.

WASHINGTON - The Bush administration wants to quit requiring coal operators to prove that their surface mining will not damage streams, fish and wildlife.

Under proposed new regulations that it will put out Friday for public comment, strip mine operators would have to show only that they intend "to prevent, to the extent possible using the best technology currently available," such damage.

"With this proposal, we can establish a consistent, nationwide means to reduce the impacts of surface coal mining and provide clear rules specifying what mining activities can and cannot be conducted near bodies of water," said C. Stephen Allred, Assistant Secretary of Interior for Land and Minerals Management.

Current policy from the Interior Department's Office of Surface Mining says land within 100 feet of a stream cannot be disturbed by mining unless a company can prove it will not affect the water's quality and quantity.

Interior officials have said that complying with that buffer zone requirement is impossible in "mountaintop removal mining," which involves shearing off the tops of ridges to expose a coal seam. Dirt and rock are pushed below, often into stream beds, a practice known as valley fill.

The new regulations would allow mining that would alter a stream's flow as long as any damages to the environment are repaired later.

Valley fills allowed under the old, 1983 regulations will still be permitted. The volume of rock that can be displaced to get to the surface of a coal seam and the area where that rock is put can be "no larger than needed," according to the proposal.

Environmentalists want such fills banned entirely.

"The Bush administration just doesn't give up in its quest to give away more and more legal protections to the mountaintop removal polluters," said Joan Mulhern, an attorney for the Earthjustice legal firm.

I'll have to find out where to write... I'll post it when I do.

The rest of this article is here


Blogger Kitchen Window Woman said...

I have family in West Virginia and have recently learned my roots go back to the late 1600's in that state.

We were there just last year.

The people care a great deal about the land and the streams and have been politically active for a very long time - they just don't have money and power.

The devastation caused by mountaintop removal is unimaginable but that is Bush's pattern - total destruction for political and financial gain.

3:55 AM, August 25, 2007  
Anonymous oldwhitelady said...

Good picture. Oh, yes. Of course, Bushco wants to give those companies more breaks. They're his buddies. How irritating!

7:04 PM, August 25, 2007  
Blogger sumo said...


2:11 AM, August 27, 2007  

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