August 23, 2008

Coal-Dusted Water

The Clean Water Act, a law to regulate detrimental practices to bodies of water, was amended in 2002 to allow mine waste to “fill in streams for development and other purposes.” Now, the US Office of Surface Mining (which, apparently, exists) has proposed more changes to the Act. According to the New York Times, these new regulations would only serve to legalize mountaintop removal mining. Their article, Ravaging Appalachia, from last August, blasts politicians for continually attempting to condone this horrendous form of mining.

And apparently it’s not enough that hundreds of mountains have been obliterated. Now coal companies want to destroy streams. As per the article, 1200 miles of streams have been buried under mine debris, known as ‘spoil.’ To compare, that the same length as Florida’s entire coastline (Source ).


Having coal mines in such close proximity to streams and other water sources has many negative effects. Drinking water in West Virginia can be brown, and it is dangerous to drink, as shown in the trailer for the documentary, Burning the Future: Coal in America. West Virginia is a poor state, and people there cannot afford to buy something else to drink. These people are dying from coal mines without even going in one.
Photo credit: cindy47452 on Flickr

1 comment:

Mr. Best said...

I remember reading a feature in National Geographic about the mountaintop removal mining situation. Needless to say, it's a huge environmental nightmare. Check it out: http://ngm.nationalgeographic.com/ngm/0603/feature5/index.html

(Strangely enough, this is the same NG issue that contains a feature on the Genographic Project that Spencer Welles spoke to us about.)