Bush Administration Would Ease Legal Limits on Mountaintop Removal Coal Mining
WASHINGTON, DC, August 22, 2007 (ENS) - The federal Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement, OSM, is proposing to exempt coal mining wastes from a 1983 regulation known as the Stream Buffer Zone Rule that prohibits coal mining activities from disturbing areas within 100 feet of streams.
Regardless of the rule, the agency has allowed thousands of miles of headwaters and perennial streams in Appalachia to be permanently buried by coal companies under millions of tons of waste generated by mountaintop removal coal mining.
On Friday, the OSM will release a draft Environmental Impact Statement, EIS, considering the effects of its proposed revision to its Stream Buffer Zone Rule and several possible alternatives. The draft EIS will be open for public comment on the internet at www.regulations.gov.
The agency said in a statement Tuesday that based on the findings of the draft EIS, it will revise regulations governing how much "spoil" or displaced rock surface coal mining operations are allowed to generate and where it may be placed.
It also would clarify existing requirements for mining in and around streams, "requirements that are not being interpreted consistently," the agency said. "Uncertainty over what the rules do and do not address had resulted in conflicting legal decisions and inconsistent enforcement."
The OSM doesn't want any uncertainty--it wants the State of West Virginia to bow its political and environmental head to Dick Cheney's secret energy decisions.
There's a lot more stuff on YouTube under mountaintop mining, but this'll get you started. It's not really only an environmental issue, but a matter of what we are willing to blow-off of our American heritage for cheap energy. Over 400 mountains have been leveled and essentially 'thrown away.'