|We are not fond of actions that scar the face of our planet, and that those who scar it move to Pleasantview with a view of a winding river. Were it up to me (in a moment’s flight of fancy), I would require the mine’s CEO and family to live at the edge of their creation.
Of course this will never happen and they will continue to visit the country club in Short Hills, VA. It will be argued that flat land was needed for an airport, landfill, park, or some variation on the theme. Meanwhile the destruction goes on with only a wink and a nod to restoration. – carlos
Read More: Appalachian Mining, Environment, Kentucky Mining, Mine Development, Mine Redevelopment,Mining Redevelopment, Mountaintop Removal, Strip Mining, U.s. Mining, West Virginia Mining, Green News
DYLAN LOVAN | 12/29/10 02:39 PM
HINDMAN, Ky. — A short drive up a side road through dense Appalachian forest ends at a vast, flat clearing where a mountaintop used to be.The peak that stood for an eon is gone, replaced by a giant recreation area that was built after a coal company scraped away thousands of tons of earth, lowering the mountain by 200 feet.
Coal industry supporters say the Knott County Sportsplex in eastern Kentucky is one of many examples of economic opportunity created by strip mining techniques that include the often-vilified method known as mountaintop removal.
But data obtained by The Associated Press indicates that just a small percentage of the leveled Appalachian mountain landscape has been transformed into new developments such as businesses, prisons, golf courses and subdivisions.
Business and political leaders in the two Appalachian states most dependent on coal have held up the developments as an economic necessity and a justification for blasting away mountaintops in the depressed region, where most well-paying jobs are connected to coal.
“It really drives home the point of how much of a need there is for usable, accessible land in the mountains,” said Kentucky Speaker of the House Greg Stumbo, who built his home on a reclaimed mining site.
“A lot of people through the years ask why Appalachia is so poor. One of the biggest reasons is we were land poor – we didn’t have any place to build,” the Floyd County Democrat said.
The West Virginia Department of Commerce issued a press release earlier this month that said developments on former mining sites have created more than 13,000 jobs in 12 counties.
Republican Sen.-elect Rand Paul has said the mining practice “enhances” the land, and West Virginia Democratic Sen.-elect Joe Manchin calls the post-mining lands a “principal tool” of redevelopment. Both men spoke of the need for flat lands in Appalachia during their U.S. Senate campaigns this year.