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Mountain tops

Started by Peddler, August 24, 2007, 18:41:11 PM

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Peddler

August 24, 2007, 18:41:11 PM Last Edit: August 24, 2007, 20:55:21 PM by Woolly Bugger

Rule to Expand Mountaintop Coal Mining

WASHINGTON, Aug. 22 — The Bush administration is set to issue a regulation on Friday that would enshrine the coal mining practice of mountaintop removal. The technique involves blasting off the tops of mountains and dumping the rubble into valleys and streams.

http://www.nytimes.com/2007/08/23/us/23coal.html

A taste of how it looks:
http://www.ohvec.org/galleries/mountaintop_removal/007/57.html

The early bird may get the worm,
but the second mouse gets the cheese.

richard bernabe

Jack, Thanks for posting.

That is ugly and its opposition has been Tour de Force with me over the past two years.

Visit http://www.ilovemountains.org/ to learn more about mountaintop removal and get involved.


Woolly Bugger

Quote from: richard bernabe on August 24, 2007, 19:45:36 PM

Jack, Thanks for posting.

That is ugly and its opposition has been Tour de Force with me over the past two years.

Visit http://www.ilovemountains.org/ to learn more about mountaintop removal and get involved.

Thanks Richard, I just sent a letter off!
ex - I'm not going to live with you through one more fishing season!

me -There's a season?

Pastor explains icons to my son: you know like the fish symbol on the back of cars.

My son: My dad has two fish on his car and they're both trout!

red-haired-boy

Also check out www.KFTC.org they have been active on this issue.
MACED.org has also done an interesting study on the economic impact but I can't seem to find it.

If you want to see several mountain top removal sites let me know and I will give you a tour so you can make up your own mind- some of these sites are being used for hospitals, stores, schools, golf courses, housing sub-divisions, atv/horse trails, recreational facilities, farming, etc. But most of them are not being used at all.  A couple sites are right above the local reservior and soon to be county water supply.

The issue is complicated (or is it?).

Black water, black water, running down through my land.....


Woolly Bugger

Quote from: red-haired-boy on August 25, 2007, 08:33:35 AM

The issue is complicated (or is it?).

Remove the mountain top, fill in the valley, where do our streams go?

ex - I'm not going to live with you through one more fishing season!

me -There's a season?

Pastor explains icons to my son: you know like the fish symbol on the back of cars.

My son: My dad has two fish on his car and they're both trout!

diamonddave7676

Yeah i have seen this happen so many times when I have gone up to WV.  It is disgusting.


Boykin

Quote from: Peddler on August 24, 2007, 18:41:11 PM

Rule to Expand Mountaintop Coal Mining

WASHINGTON, Aug. 22 — The Bush administration is set to issue a regulation on Friday that would enshrine the coal mining practice of mountaintop removal. The technique involves blasting off the tops of mountains and dumping the rubble into valleys and streams.

http://www.nytimes.com/2007/08/23/us/23coal.html

A taste of how it looks:
http://www.ohvec.org/galleries/mountaintop_removal/007/57.html

With out mining where do we get our coal from? We could not survive without it. Everyone blames everything on the Bush administration these days! Check out how eco-friendly his ranch is versus Gore's mansion in Tennessee.


Peddler

Quote

With out mining where do we get our coal from?

Same places except we would mine for it. The big problem with that is it wouldn't work if the farthest you can see is the profits for the next quarter and if you give a rat's arse if anyone lives downstream.

The early bird may get the worm,
but the second mouse gets the cheese.

red-haired-boy

August 25, 2007, 19:42:56 PM #8 Last Edit: August 25, 2007, 19:45:09 PM by red-haired-boy

For companies this is an issue of cost. Are we willing to pay higher prices for energy or accept lower returns on investments in mining companies?
Someone may correct me but much of this coal could also be reached through deep mining, but it would be significantly more expensive (incidently it would also create many more jobs.) In local terms energy is one of the few sources of good paying private industry jobs here in rural eastern Kentucky.

We want everything as cheap as possible, with as few taxes as possible, and if we own the company to make as much money as possible-  sometimes the cost's of this attitude are as expensive as mountian ranges.

When you get into it you can make this issue complicated, thats why I'll give you a tour and let you see for yourself and trust me there is nothing like seeing it. Come see a few of these sites and make up your own mind. In fact when you see it, it's sometimes tough to tell what you are looking at, or more often what you are not looking at. Many of these projects are so massive it is mind boggling, whether you agree or disagree with it these are our Egyptian Pryamids or our contemporary Cahokia's.

The most unfortunate part of this issue is the utter lack of debate and knowledge about it. We as a nation are not having a discussion of the costs of mountian top removal and valley fill mining. Whether you are for or against this practice, we as a country should at least have some kind of informed debate about it. Major media outlets rarely cover the story, national enviromental organizations don't seem to be fighting like hell, and those engaging in the practice don't seem to keen on publicizing it (and why should they, they have the rules as they would like them.) Incidently it seems as though we have even less discusion about mining practices in the rural west.

....and they wrote it all down as the progress of man... (a song about another strip mine, that ironically enough is now home to a TVA coal fired power plant).


phg

The problem is, accidents like the one in Utah influence public policy away from dangerous deep mines and more toward strip mining. 


Trout Maharishi

August 26, 2007, 00:29:58 AM #10 Last Edit: August 26, 2007, 20:13:51 PM by Trout Maharishi

Piddler,
First of all let me make clear that no type of mining is without it's problems, and I am in no way condoing the removal of the tops of mountains in any state, nor the pollution of any waters. It's a shame that this method of mining is the most cost effective method for removing the low sulphur coal we need from that region. But, the article raises a couple of interesting questions. What do you think they have been doing with the waste from underground mines? All mining generates huge volumes of waste, and it has to go somewhere. For years, it has been trucked away and dumped in remote hollows and streambeads of Appalachia.

Where should we turn to replace the cheap energy source from coal mining ? I mean now, not 20 years down the road. We are a nation based on cheap energy prices and we are currently being held hostage by middle Eastern oil. I read the article and came to quite a different conclusion than I originally felt upon reading the headline. I  though the headline and  the opening comments made by Mr Broder were a feeble attempt to grab attention by jumping on the "I hate Bush" bandwagon. Please allow me to quote and expound on a couple of points in the article by Mr Broder.

Quote

The rule, which would apply to waste from both types of mines, is known as the stream buffer zone rule. First adopted in 1983, it forbids virtually all mining within 100 feet of a river or stream.

The Interior Department drafted the proposal to try to clear up a 10-year legal and regulatory dispute over how the 1983 rule should be applied. The change is to be published on Friday in The Federal Register, officials said.

The Army Corps of Engineers, state mining authorities and local courts have read the rule liberally, allowing extensive mountaintop mining and dumping of debris in coal-rich regions of West Virginia, Kentucky, Tennessee and Virginia.

From 1985 to 2001, 724 miles of streams were buried under mining waste, according to the environmental impact statement accompanying the new rule.

My understanding of those facts doesn't point to a free pass pass to level WV by the Bush administration. They are simply trying to pass laws for both types of mines that would clarify existing laws, Hopefully removing some of the authority for interpretation by the very groups that have been allowed to cause the current problems. The original legislation was written in 1983, and this is simply trying to clarify a 10 year battle over the application of the rules of that legislation.  It also states that this has become necessary because  the Army Corps of Engineers, local state mining authorities, and local courts have read the rule too liberally, allowing extensive mountaintop mining and dumping of debris in caloric regions of West Virginia, Kentucky, Tennessee and Virginia

Could it be the Corps of Engineers, local mining authority and local courts are the real problem? Of course blaming them for the mess wouldn't get the desired knee jerk reaction needed to sale newpapers.

Richard,
I didn't have a chance to read the link you provided, but I'll take a closer look at it tomorrow. I agree, something needs to be done, and quick.  There are implications of all the different types of mines, not just the ones that are the obvious eye sores.
There's more B.S. in fly fishing than there is in a Kansas feedlot.

Lefty Kreh

lepomis_mcro

would what were are talking about fall under this guys control.. i hope not

(mark 6:41)"Taking the five loaves and the two fish and looking up to heaven, he gave thanks and broke the loaves. Then said to the crowd amassed before him. I have mine the hell with the rest of you."

taken from the christian conservative handbook.  how to deal with modern problems.

trout_boy_II

Maharishi is on the right track.  For what it is worth, obtaining mining permits are one of the more difficult things to do on this earth, as they should be.  That said, there have been some favoritism in the past, but nothing like that shown by both parties in many other "Regulatory issues."  The facts are we need energy and coal is one thing that we have.  The idiots killed nuclear (and disco about the same time, but I disgress...), but now that all the predictions of depleting natural resources are coming true, it looks like nuclear is getting another look which is good.  That permitting process is even harder than coal, appropriately enuff, so it will be a while before new plants come on line, but that is the only answer that makes sense in light of current technology.  Does that mean that indiscriminate coal mining is "OK"?  of course not, but the days of Mr. Peabody's coal train hauling it all away are pretty long gone.  Reclamation laws are very tight (as long as the coal company stays solvent, but even that is covered for the most part).  A lot of the ugly mines that are in disrepair were old mines that are not covered by current legislation.  When those companies went broke, who do you sue?  No good answers on that one, but mountain top removal is a viable way to extract coal at cheaper prices (and it is safer) than punch mines, etc., particularly when dealing with "low" or thin seams.  Not what folks want to hear, but there it is.

Can more efficient sources of energy, such as wind and solar, help?  sure, but not at the levels needed with current technology, so we need to keep plugging at making these work even better, but barring a major advance in technology, nothing I've read suggests that these will meet the needs of the next 30 years.  Can all the light bulb switches and hybrid cars, etc. help?  probably as much as anything, but our legislators don't seem to want to make that a requirement of us all.  Can you say clear and present danger?  I guess they can't, but again, I digress.

So, if the regulations are enforced, which they generally are, the worst case scenarios of the "don't tear our mountains down" side usually do not happen.  Look, I don't like it either, and I no longer have a dog in that hunt, but all sides need to realize that no mining is not a current option and economics (i.e. cost of extraction) is very much an issue.  I suggest you look at this issue from all sides before you decide.

Last comment - I would love to see a candidate that sez energy is the main issue for our government to focus on.  Fix that and we can solve a whole lot of other things pretty quickly.  Thank you Mr. Speaker, I relinquish the floor to some one who knows what they're talking about (which may eliminate most of our crowd, me included   :-\)

My $.02.

TB

PS If you think surface mine problems are an issue, check into subsidence from deep mines some time.


trout_boy_II

Quote from: Trout Maharishi on August 26, 2007, 00:29:58 AM

What do you think they have been doing with the waste from underground mines? All mining generates huge volumes of waste, and it has to go somewhere. For years, it has been trucked away and dumped in remote hollows and stream beads of Appalachia.

I guess I should answer this, underground mines, particularly "punch" mines which come in from the side of a mountain directly into an out cropping of coal do not have a lot of wastes because most of what is mined is coal.  In other words the tunnel is about the height of the coal seam itself.  "Low coal" refers to a very thin seam, sometimes as "low" as 20 inches and it can most efficiently be mined with surface mines, provided not too much cover has to be removed (think expense for moving the stuff that can't be sold - the stuff going into the hollers as referenced in the earlier part of the thread.  While "deep mines" did require doing something with the culm that was removed to get to deep seams, it still was relatively little compared to surface mining.  As those mines got deeper, the culm was sometimes loaded back inti passages that had been mined out.

Part of the real crap that came out of mines all those years is the crap that the wash plants scrubbed off the coal before it was sent to the end user.  The had to have a place to dump that stuff and many times that's what you see that looks so bad.  talk about caustic stuff!  Again, the regulations tightened, so not as toxic now, but still...

Anyway, the worst stuff you probably have seen in WVA and the East in general are old, pre-reclamation mines that really do look like crap.

Foe what it's worth...

TB


red-haired-boy

One of the sites I go to ocasionally and take others to is a one of the most responsibly reclaimed mines in the region. Currently that site supports the largest elk herd east of the Mississippi river. When you walk/ride horses or atv's up there it by and large feels like a praire, not a wasteland. This same praire has a very limited biodiversity- it is not a messy old growth forest full of snags and species.

Mining and lumber are extractive industries that are destructive by their very nature. The question is not do we need mining- if we want to live our current (as in since the stone or bronze age) lifestyle we definitely need mining. The question is: what cost, both literally and figuratively are we willing to pay for the minerals, metals, coal, etc., that we are removing from the earth?

Mining is dirty, dangerous and destuctive. But is essential to modern life.

As I said this can be complicated.

Also this is from today's Times
http://www.nytimes.com/2007/08/27/opinion/27mon1.html?_r=1&oref=slogin



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