Hot on HuffPost:

See More Stories

Mountaintop Removal to Be Curtailed in Coal Mining, EPA Says

5 years ago
  0 Comments Say Something  »
Text Size
New restrictions are coming for the controversial if effective mining technique of blowing off mountain peaks to dig down into coal seams, a practice in Appalachia that not only leaves an unsightly landscape but also fills valleys below with rubble and fouls streams.

The guidelines, announced Thursday by the Environmental Protection Agency, have long been sought by environmentalists and resisted by the mining industry, which has seen mountaintop mining in states like West Virginia grow to where it accounts for 10 percent of the coal generated in the U.S.

EPA Administrator Lisa P. Jackson said so-called valley fills will be curtailed by restrictions on surface mining operations that go beyond pollution limits for salt and certain toxins, the Washington Post reported. Problems occur when rainwater seeps through rubble blasted off mountaintops and picks up poisons that wind up in rivers and streams.

"You're talking about no, or very few, valley fills that are going to meet that standard," Jackson said.

Hundreds of permits for mountaintop mining were issued under presidents Clinton and Bush. But opposition to the procedure from environmentalists -- many with Democratic Party affiliations -- has hurt Democratic candidates in West Virginia, where jobs often trump environmental concerns. The state was once a lock for the Democratic Party.

"It could mean the end of an era," National Mining Association spokesman Luke Popvich said of the new EPA rules. "That is tantamount to saying the intent is to strictly limit coal mining in Appalachia."

Our New Approach to Comments

In an effort to encourage the same level of civil dialogue among Politics Daily’s readers that we expect of our writers – a “civilogue,” to use the term coined by PD’s Jeffrey Weiss – we are requiring commenters to use their AOL or AIM screen names to submit a comment, and we are reading all comments before publishing them. Personal attacks (on writers, other readers, Nancy Pelosi, George W. Bush, or anyone at all) and comments that are not productive additions to the conversation will not be published, period, to make room for a discussion among those with ideas to kick around. Please read our Help and Feedback section for more info.

Add a Comment

*0 / 3000 Character Maximum Comment Moderation Enabled. Your comment will appear after it is cleared by an editor.

Follow Politics Daily

  • Comics
Featuring political comics by Robert and Donna TrussellMore>>
  • Woman UP Video
politics daily videos
Weekly Videos
Woman Up, Politics Daily's Online Sunday ShowMore»
politics daily videos
TV Appearances
Showcasing appearances by Politics Daily staff and contributors.More>>