Mountaintop Removal in Kentucky
One of the world's oldest and most diverse forests is being turned 
into a wasteland and we are simply watching it happen.
  

Most people never have the opportunity to visit remote mountaintop-removal coal mines, or view them from the air.  However,  satellite photographs of such mine sites are readily available.  These photographs from space clearly show the extent of devastation from mountaintop removal mining. The photograph below shows the region (about 20 x 30 miles) east of Prestonsburg, Kentucky, Jenny Wiley State Park and Dewey Lake.  Here and toward Hazard to the southwest, or on to the northeast into West Virginia you can see mountaintop- removal sites too numerous to count, adding up to many, many thousands of acres.

Half the electricity in the United States is produced from the burning of coal, as is about 97% of Kentucky's electricity. About 80% of Kentucky's coal is exported to other states. In spite of these statistics Kentucky's coal-producing counties are among the most poverty- stricken in the nation. Because mountaintop removal requires only a few men with bulldozers about two- thirds of the mining jobs in Kentucky have been eliminated during the last 25 years, and much of the profit from this mining goes to out-of-state corporations. 
    
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 eastern Kentucky and you'll see that little has changed, except there is less time remaining to do something about it.


Typical Valley Fill                                 Fill in Progress

Politics and The Definition of "Fill"

In 2001, King Coal found itself faced with a federal district court ruling that would have shut down mountaintop mining operations all across West Virginia due to violations of the Clean Water Act. King Coal’s response was to immediately cash in some of its political markers and get its cronies in the Bush Administration to change how EPA and Army Corps of Engineers define a single word in the Act, the word “fill.” Changing the definition of fill effectively insulated the industry from any further Clean Water Act attacks and negated the court’s decision, allowing the coal industry to continue burying Appalachian streams and valleys with mine waste and rubble without interruption.

Now, Washington’s [George Bush's] eagerness to kowtow to the coal industry is having far-reaching im
plications in other areas of the country where industry wants to use our waterways as unpermitted waste disposal sites. In Alaska, gold mining companies are taking advantage of this bureaucratic, regulatory change to dump waste from gold mines into nearby lakes. Only time will tell how many other industries will jump on the regulatory bandwagon and fill our nation ’s waterways with their toxic mess.
                                     
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  www.waterkeeper.org/mainarticledetails.aspx?articleid=211  


France's nuclear push transforms energy equation


With oil dependence and global warming at the top of the international energy agenda, France's experience with nuclear energy is drawing interest from the U.S. to China. Today, France produces 78 percent of its electricity from nuclear power -- more than four times both the U.S. share and the world average. The policy has slashed France's dependence on foreign energy and given it one of the lowest rates of greenhouse-gas emissions in the industrialized world.  
                                        --- Jeffery Ball, Wall Street Journal, Mar 28, 2006


Read more about Mountaintop Removal mining HERE.

See also Mountaintop Removal Roadshow CALENDAR.

Check out the "Mountain Mourning" DVD HERE.