Scientists Call for End to Mountaintop Mines

by kespeland on January 7, 2010

Writing in the journal Science, scientists from a range of disciplines and institutions are calling on the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to stop issuing mountaintop coal mining permits.  The scientists synthesized data and conducted new studies to assess the breadth of environmental impacts from this type of mining.  Duke University biogeochemist Emily Bernhardt says one of the top concerns is filling adjacent valleys with the mining waste, or spoil.

“We estimate conservatively that more than 1500 miles of Appalachian headwater streams have been lost due to direct filling or the direct impacts of building sediment ponds associated with mountaintop mining.”

In a separate announcement, Kentucky’s Energy and Environmental Protection Cabinet announced new guidelines for reducing the amount of valley fills.

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Supporters Try Again for Mountaintop Fill Bill

by kespeland March 5, 2009

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.

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EPA Signs Off On Mountaintop Removal Rule

by kespeland December 3, 2008

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has signed off on a controversial rule concerning mountaintop removal mining. The new rule would allow mining companies to place mining debris in streams.

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Freshwater Mussels: Endangered but Coming Back

by kespeland April 14, 2008

Kentucky’s rivers and streams once carried more than a hundred species of freshwater mussels. Today, nearly a quarter are endangered, and many are already gone. WFPL’s Kristin Espeland reports on why mussels matter, and how efforts to bring them back are breaking new scientific ground.

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