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West Virginia Sues Federal Government Over Mining Restrictions

5 years ago
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West Virginia is suing the federal government over strict mountaintop coal mining controls put into place last year, saying the regulations are hurting the state's economy.

Gov. Joe Manchin announced the lawsuit Wednesday against the Environmental Protection Agency and the Army Corps of Engineers. The Democrat blasted what he called the Obama administration's "attempts to destroy our coal industry and way of life in West Virginia," The New York Times reported.

In 2009, the government instituted tighter rules for mountaintop removal, the method by which earth is blasted off hills to gain access to the coal underneath. Critics say the process pollutes the environment and destroys the landscape.

In a statement, the EPA said it would fight the suit and claimed West Virginia hasn't done enough to balance the ecological and economical concerns over mining.

"State officials have not engaged in a meaningful discussion of sustainable mining practices that will create jobs while protecting the waters that Appalachian communities depend on for drinking, swimming and fishing," the statement said in part.

Manchin is in a tight race against Republican John Raese, who has accused the governor of not being a strong enough backer of the coal industry. The Times points out that the lawsuit is an opportunity for Manchin to show his support for mining and to distance himself from President Obama, who is unpopular in the state.

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We do need more nuclear power plants. What we need to do is build them near coal and natural gas producing states. There is the Fischer-Tropsch process, which turns coal and natural gas into synthetic gasoline. This process has been around for many years. With inexpensive nuclear power, it would be cost effective. Railway cars and trucks would carry off the liquid fuel instead of coal. Put centralized scrubbers in these plants. Those scrubbed pollutants, primarily sulfur, would be available in high concentrations as to be a valuable industrial product all it's own. That sulfur byproduct at the hypothetical nuclear-powered coal liquification plant, becomes sulfuric acid. This acid is the most important non-fuel industrial chemical known to man! We have hundreds of years of coal and natural gas. There is no reason for dependence on foreign oil!

October 07 2010 at 11:05 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to begbrgstrm's comment

No one can truly say that nuclear power is cost effective! No way has been yet devised to store nuclear waste for a quarter billion years and while the technology exists to reuse nuclear fuel, it has not been utilized anywhere in this country. NO MORE NUKES!!

October 07 2010 at 12:00 PM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply

Regulations are in place to protect the citizens and workers not the companies who have a terrible saftey record. Mining is a very dangerous business and miners tend to run in families. My family have been miners both in the UK and here for over a one hundred years, its the regulations and unions that have protected miners not the companies

October 07 2010 at 10:19 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply

An excellent example of the lack of cooperation between federal agencies, state governments and industry. Whine, complain and fight the regulation - instead of working with industry and federal agencies to develop and implement a solution. I have no doubt that some mining companies stopped activities, rather than spending money to implement methods and controls to comply with the regulations. You would think that the federal government would include some funding for companies to use to comply with new regulations...

October 07 2010 at 9:39 AM Report abuse +3 rate up rate down Reply

Has the Federal Government ever had dozens of law suits against it from dozens of States at one time like this in the history of the Federal Government? Seems like States are fighting Socialism tooth and nail.

October 07 2010 at 12:14 AM Report abuse +6 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to rualibfool's comment

States are just fighting for their own agenda and dirty industries regardless of the harm done to it's citizens and environment. States need to get on the right path to alternate fuels, promoting clean energy, and investing in the future instead of clinging to old industries that pollute the world. It's nothing to do with socialism. Enjoy your Medicare, Unemployment, Social Security, Post Office, Military, Food and Drug Protection, Bank Regulations, Corporation Regulations, and all the other protections that socialism has to offer. GOOD DAY!

October 07 2010 at 8:38 AM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply

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