The nation’s top regulatory office for surface mining wants to change a rule that protects streams and creeks. The Office of Surface Mining says it’s clarifying the 25 year old rule. Critics say they’re gutting it, and risking the future of Appalachia’s water supply and quality. WFPL’s Kristin Espeland has our story.
On a recent crisp fall night, citizens packed a lecture hall in Hazard Community College for a contentious public hearing. Many came to tell representatives from the office of surface mining that they think the proposed rule change is dangerous. They brought charts and bottled water samples to show how many streams mining had damaged or buried. And how their wells and even lower creeks are drying up. Local resident Herbie Smith stepped up to the podium to name streams he says could soon be lost.