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Friday, October 09, 2009

Mountain top coal mining

Except for a vague notion that mountaintop coal mining does exist, I have to admit I was aware of none of this. From an article in The Nation by Jeff Biggers:

The Coalfield Uprising
When the Environmental Protection Agency declared this year on September 11 that all pending mountaintop removal mining permits in four Appalachian states stood in violation of the Clean Water Act and required further review, Lora Webb didn't have time to join in any celebrations. As she and her husband, Steve, a coal miner, packed up their possessions and left his family's ancestral property outside Lindytown, West Virginia, Lora was more concerned about finding a place to sleep that night.
For the past few years, ever since a massive twenty-story dragline landed on a ridge near their home, the Webbs had endured twice-daily, bone-rattling explosions and the quasi-apocalyptic storms of coal dust and fly rock that blanketed their home and garden. Lindytown's creeks and mountain hollows no longer exist, and a once-thriving community has been reduced to a ghost town. "It's unreal. It's like we're living in a war zone," Lora Webb told a local newspaper last fall.

And:

[...] a breakthrough study by West Virginia University researcher Michael Hendryx found that "coal mining costs Appalachians five times more in early deaths as the industry provides to the region in jobs." According to the study, "The coal industry generates a little more than $8 billion a year in economic benefits for the Appalachian region," but the researchers also estimated the cost of premature mining-related deaths across the Appalachian coalfields at a yearly average of $42 billion.

Via Illinois Mine Wars, who called it: "The all too common corporate practice of privatizing profits while socializing cost is quite apparent here."

Posted by Marie at October 9, 2009 7:28 PM

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