From examining the Google map
above (20 x 30 miles) it wouldn't be unreasonable to predict that more than 50% of
Perry and Knott counties will eventually be subjected to mountaintop
Bill Caylor, president of The Kentucky Coal Association, has said on
numerous occasions that no more than
6.8% of all of
Appalachia will ever be affected by mountaintop removal or surface mining.
However, the Google map above and this map from
the 2005 EPA Programmatic Environmental Impact
Statement (PEIS) suggest that a considerably larger percentage of some
regions of Appalachia will be affected. In fact, Caylor misquotes the
Environmental Impact Statement to get his 6.8%. What it
actually says is: "Of the largely forested study area,
approximately 6.8% has been or may be affected by recent and future
(1992-2012) mountaintop mining [USEPA, 2002]." The study area
did not include all of Appalachia nor all of the coal mining region of
Appalachia. And this forecast only includes the next few years, until
2012, not forever as Caylor has repeatedly stated.
the coal industry intends to convert most of eastern Kentucky -- from
West Virginia to Tennessee -- into what can only be described as an
enormous gravel parking lot. Actually, it's worse than a gravel
More vegetation by far grows in a typical gravel driveway than will
grow on a strip mine site reclaimed by current methods. If you
stand on the average reclaimed mine site 10 or 20 years after reclamation and
look at the ground beneath your feet -- what you'll see is scraggly
and sparce non-native grasses struggling to grow from a hardpan of
crushed stone and clay. Gaze across the undulating expanse which was
once verdant tree-covered mountaintops -- There will be few trees
if any, nowhere will you see any
sod, or anything that will retain water or serve as a
suitable soil for growth of vegetation.
Due to the
inaccessibility of mountaintop-removal operations, few persons have
the opportunity to observe them first-hand, and fewer have stood on a
"reclaimed" mine site. Few know the devastation such mining
causes to the land, the wildlife, the streams, and the people -- the
real cost of cheap coal to the people of Appalachia. As Bobbie Ann
Mason said, "It could break your heart to know."
Forty years ago Eastern Kentucky resident Dan Gibson said, "The
strip miners are killing these old hills. When they finish, there
won't be anything left . . . my land is dying."
Take a trip through the mining region of eastern Kentucky and
you'll see that little has changed, except there is less time
remaining to do something about it.
Over Public Interest
The 2005 Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement on mountaintop
removal mining -- a legally required government study begun in 1998 in
response to litigation by local citizens -- is a prime example of
politics over public interest. The purpose of the study was to explore
ways to limit the impact of mountaintop removal mining. But while the
government included extensive scientific research documenting damage
of this practice to communities and the environment, and in the face
of 80,000 public comments against this practice, the Bush
administration used the study to endorse mountaintop removal, and
recommend streamlining the permitting process.
Read more about Mountaintop Removal mining's effects on the economy.
The 2005 Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement -- final
The Kentucky River Watershed
and Kentucky water quality.
Check out the Christians for the Mountains' "Mountain
Mourning" DVD HERE.
I Love Mountains http://www.ilovemountains.org/resources
Ohio Valley Environmental Coalition http://www.ohvec.org/
Kentuckians for the Commonwealth http://kftc.org/our-work/canary-project
Christians for the Mountains http://www.christiansforthemountains.org/
Mountaintop Removal -- Wikipedia http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mountaintop_removal
Mountain Justice Summer http://www.mountainjusticesummer.org/facts/steps.php
Environmental Protection Agency http://www.epa.gov/maia/html/issue-valley.html
Appalachian Voices http://www.appvoices.org/index.php?/site/mtr_overview/
Stop Mountaintop Removal http://www.stopmountaintopremoval.org/
Union of Concerned Scientists http://www.ucsusa.org/scientific_integrity/interference/mountaintop-removal-mining.html
Sludge Safety Project http://www.sludgesafety.org/news/2005/02_21.html
United Mountain Defense http://www.unitedmountaindefense.org/
True Cost of Mountaintop Removal http://www.ncrlc.com/corner-post-webpages/True-Cost-Mt-Removal.html
Save Our Cumberland Mountains http://www.socm.org
Coal River Mountain Watch http://webpages.charter.net/crmw
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