Some members of Congress are revisiting a familiar front in the battle over mountaintop removal coal mining. They have re-introduced House legislation that would restrict mining companies from dumping material left over from blasting off the tops of mountains in waterways. They say it buries streams and harms water quality downstream. Opponents argue that it would cause mining companies and communities economic hardship. But co-sponsor John Yarmuth (KY-3) says he sees little economic benefit from such mining for communities that are still ranked among the poorest in the nation.
“We still have very poor health care. So other than the taxes that have been paid by the coal companies, it’s hard to make the case that this has benefited the people of those regions. And it certainly has damaged the environment,” says Yarmuth.
Congressman Ben Chandler (KY-6) has also been a co-sponsor of the bill for several years. It enjoys widespread support in the House. But it’s likely to meet strong opposition in the Senate.