The Least, First

Monte Asbury's blog

Posts Tagged ‘Mining

EPA returns! ‘Hold’ on mountaintop removal mining

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Good news! After years of forced inaction, the Environmental Protection Agency has come back to life—for the moment, at least—to slow the rapacious practice of “mountaintop removalcoal mining.
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A picture of a mountaintop removal siteWork co...

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In a major reversal of Bush policy, “mountaintop coal-mining permits are being put on hold until the projects’ impacts on streams and wetlands can be reviewed,” the Environmental Protection Agency announced today: […]

Citing its regulatory role under the Clean Water Act, the EPA said the letters stated that the projects “would likely cause water quality problems in streams below the mines, would cause significant degradation to streams buried by mining activities, and that proposed steps to offset these impacts are inadequate.” […]

A midnight regulation by the Bush administration attempted to make permanent its policy of permitting coal companies to strip the tops off of Appalachian mountains and bury watersheds with the waste. […]

Update: “Lax rules by the Bush Administration have made mountaintop removal an American emergency,” JW Randolph of Appalachian Voices tells ThinkProgress. “Today, the people of Appalachia are celebrating.”

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“[T]he EPA said the letters stated that the projects … would cause significant degradation to streams buried by mining activities […]”

Gosh, ya think?

The process, you’ll recall, involves ripping off the head and shoulders of an Appalachian mountain.  On this mountain lives a host of wildlife along with the descendants of Scotch-Irish pioneers who have never known another home, and have little power to prevent the theft of the one they have. The “removed” mountain gets dumped—believe it or not—into Appalachian ravines and streams; they are simply gone forever.

The holy grail of this mountains-to-mudflats search (thoughtful ad-men will want you to know) is “clean coal.”  Coal barons can hire said pretty much whatever they like; they’ve funded generations of Appalachian politicians.  Of course coal is not really the goal, nor do coal barons likely give a rip about how clean it is.   Scraping Appalachia flat – destroying national treasures and poor peoples’ homes – serves one sine qua non:  it makes a few rich people richer.

Even more then, say a bravo! for the EPA.  The permanent destruction of our lands is too great a loss to be ignored.   More millions for millionaires is a miserable trade for a mountain.

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Stimulus brings optimism to road building industry

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Money to states for road-building lifts an entire industry’s hopes, from quarries to equipment manufactures to the pavers themselves.

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For Sellers of Pavers and Cones, Stimulus Lifts Hopes After a Troubled Year

A road equipment display last week at the World of Asphalt show in Orlando, Fla. States are set to receive $27.5 billion in federal stimulus money for roadwork.

[A]t World of Asphalt, the industry’s annual trade show […]

With $27.5 billion in federal stimulus money heading to state transportation departments, the people who make their living by building highways … hope the money will begin to revive an industry that hit a rough patch last year […]

Lehman-Roberts Company in Tennessee … is becoming an illustration of the goals of the stimulus program  …

[Rick Moore, the company’s president] ordered five new pieces of equipment this month and has begun to bolster his staff. “We put an ad in the paper and had 200 folks apply for jobs,” he said.

The show provided a vivid window into what economists call the multiplier effect: how allocating money to let states hire road contractors will eventually benefit an entire industry, from the quarries that crush the rock and the manufacturers that sell them mining equipment to the companies that sell 2,000-watt halogen bulbs for night work or, in one company’s case, little mirrors that road workers can attach to their hard hats so they can see if cars are coming from behind.[…]

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It’s a start!

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Written by Monte

March 16, 2009 at 2:44 pm