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Another misguided policy


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I heard on the radio this week that our new administration has issued a moritorium on issuing mountain top mining permits.  The practice where "WHOLE mountain tops" are removed.  At least that is how they always emphasize it in liberal media forums.  The governor of WV immediatly got on a plane to DC to meet with Obama.  

I am originally from eastern KY and spend a lot of time with famiy there, hunting and fishing.   Believe me there is no shortage of mountain tops.  There is a shortage of useable land. The land is so rugged and inaccessable, people have to live in the narrow hollows between mountains.  The sun comes up at 10:00am and sets at 3:00pm.  The best land is recovered mountain top mine land.  All the golf courses, parks, airports, hospitals and the best hunting and recreation land is created this way.  Go to any recovered high former mine and you will find a diversity of plant and animal life.  Hunters will be there seeking rabbit, deer, turkey and now even some quail are being established in the former strip sites.  

But out of state tree huggers have long sought to ban the practice, and now they have responsive ear in DC.  Yes, it is ugly seeing the earth ripped open when the site is in operation.  But it creates jobs where there are no others, and the recovered land is a blessing to all.

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OK-- upland hunting related. If it gets nasty or too partisan-its gone. All covered in Board Guidelines.
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We had a militia man move his family into the area from out of state in the late 90s.  He bought one of those remote mountain tops because it was supposed to be on of the most "survivable" areas.   He then began hoarding and preparing for the end of time, the Y2K bug.  As the millenium approached, he sold everything he had that was electrical for a fire sale price.  My nephew got his TV.  I'll stick to the political process.
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Above post does not make sense as it responds to deleted post.  Sorry Brad if I started something bad.  I guess I could have titled it better.
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oh yeah, strip mines are just great for "plant and animal diversity"...water quality too, I assume...keep drinking the kool-aid topdog...
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PaFlyfisher

My parents are from the coal region. I spent every other weekend of my childhood playing in the "strippins". I thought 100years of mining had destroyed Schyulkill Co. Then I saw a mountaintop removal site in W.Va.

It was so ugly it was depressing. Greed run amok.

Who is going to play golf on all those courses in Kentucky? I bet the views are stunning, playing on one "reclaimed" wasteland while admiring the view of dozens of others, not exactly Pebble Beach. The only way to make golf courses pollute more with pesticide runoff is to put one on the top of a mountain.

Bede

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I can't disagree, or agree. I know a little of what you speak, but not enough to speak with knowledge. But that won't stop a lot of posters. Got a feeling you're gonna catch hell buddy.
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Gotta believe some grouse lose their homes with that type of activity.  I've only heard and read of the impacts, but I don't think it's hard to imagine what they are when you view things from the air.

moving_mountains_1.jpg

Or, you can read the words of an old timer with first hand experience.  

Jim's Story

An excerpt:  "And there was good huntin’ – ah, finest huntin’ there ever was! Especially grouse huntin’. I loved to grouse hunt when I was a kid. I had an older brother that taught me all the tricks of the trade in grouse huntin.’ And I later grew up to be classified as one of the better grouse hunters.

I know that after I came home out of the Marines there was a lot of people would talk about grouse huntin’. They’d all say, “Get with ol’ Jim Foster and he’ll take you and show you where the grouse is at.” And I had a name bein’ a good grouse hunter, and I really enjoyed the out-of-doors – loved it!

Lots and lots of areas that I can remember when I was just a young man, where we used to hunt and fish – it’s all gone. You can’t even get in. There’s areas that they’ve already mined out that’s completely destroyed. And other areas that you can’t get on to hunt because they’ve got gates. They’ve got you locked out –you can’t go nowhere. And I’d say just give ‘em a few more years and the whole thing, it’s gonna be completely destroyed. It’s on the way out now."

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 Hunters will be there seeking rabbit, deer, turkey and now even some quail are being established in the former strip sites.  

But out of state tree huggers have long sought to ban the practice, and now they have responsive ear in DC.  Yes, it is ugly seeing the earth ripped open when the site is in operation.  But it creates jobs where there are no others, and the recovered land is a blessing to all.

I have to respectfully disagree with your assessment of the situation in Eastern Kentucky and West Virginia. I guess you can call me an in-state tree hugger. I was educated at the University of the Cumberlands and Eastern Kentucky University with degrees in botany and plant ecology.

In my early career I worked for the Corps of Engineers and then for the State Nature Preserves Commission, the Kentucky Divisions of Surface Mining and Abandoned Mine Lands. The last twenty years of my career was spent evaluating property for the KY Dept. of Fish and Wildlife Resources for acquisition for wildlife and related recreation.

It is a much documented fact that the Cumberland Plateau, prior to logging and mining, was one of the most ecologically diverse regions in the US if not the world. Logging has has a minor impact on the area, but mining has been drastic, replacing hundreds if not thousands of species in an acre of land to three or four. The species usually planted on mined lands are Kentucky 31 Fescue, Lespedcia and Black Locust. They are planted because they can survive on the drastically modified ground and in the words of a mine engineer "to be green and lie still." These sites remain biological deserts for years until other weedy species begin to invade.  It is at this time that you start seeing the areas used by a few species of wildlife.

As for creating flat land for development, I suggest you visit the small city of Hazard KY and look at the number of buildlings that have cracked walls and sinking foundations where improperly "restored land" has settled. Other area suffer the same fate, it is just easier to see in Hazard.

I won't even get into the issue of water quality with you, but you don't have to go far in Kentucky or West Virginia to see streams with brick red or black water running in them. Many of the streams used to have trout and small mouth bass, indicative of an intact ecosystem but no more.

This very complex problem overshadows simplistic political rhetoric so I won't even go there. Look at the numbers of people imployed by mining in the region compared to those with no employment at all. If mining has been a blessing on the region, it certainly has been a mixed one.

Art Boebinger

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I guess if I dont own the property in question, or if its not public land, I have no right to say one way or another.

Man needs resources to live, coal is one of them.

If the land is reclaimed, and there are other mountain tops left alone, so be it.

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I don't think there are black and white answers to these questions.  The pictures above are reminders of the consequences of our consumption.  In this country there are regulations regarding restoration of the land but that doesn't bring it back to a pre-extraction state.  On the other hand, policies such as bans doesn't solve the problem it just exports it offshore.  Thus what happens is the extraction is done in third world countries where there are no environmental regulations at all.  Anyone who has been in a third world port knows what I am talking about.  

I have always been amazed by the not in my back yard approach taken by American environmentalists.  If they really cared, or thought about it, the extraction would happen here where the environmental standards are the highest in the world.  This is particularly true with oil.  Furthermore doing it here would make the true cost of our resources more apparent to all of us thus encourage less consumption.

Dave

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Yeah, the mining industry has such a great environmental record, I think we should just let them do whatever they want.

Btw, we're only hearing part of the story here - not surprisingly the most reactionary part. According to the EPA, this doesn't constitute a "moratorium" and in fact, at this point they haven't denied any permits at all. It was, predictably, the National Mining Association which said the action "amounted to a moratorium." That's their view, but then again, I'm sure that any impediment to their interests would be reacted to in that way. What the EPA has said is that it plans to review the pending permits citing "serious concerns about potential harm to water quality." Seems pretty reasonable to me - it's the expectation that these permits wouldn't be given thorough scrutiny that is the unreasonable perspective. Given that, in the past, scrutiny of these impacts has often been lax at best, I fully support more comprehensive assessment prior to granting permits. And if the mining industry is going to whine about that, well, wake up and smell the coffee.

Mining is an essential industry, and we rely on it for many things. I don't believe anyone is trying to shut down all mining, by any means.  But that doesn't mean they can have full license to do whatever they want, trash our watersheds, leave impacts that will last for hundreds, if not thousands of years, and then leave tax payers with the clean up bill, which has happened time and time again.

As far as the sentiment that they can do whatever they want on private land, that's true (to a certain extent), but the big problem is that the impacts frequently extend far beyond the confines of that land - particularly where water is concerned, which it almost always is.

http://blogs.wvgazette.com/coaltat....ium-not

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I guess my views will be influenced by coming from generations of coal miners.  And having most of my family there dependent on coal now.  I know the coal industry has many villans.  My father died of black lung.  He worked his early years in remote coal camps where the company charged him nearly as much for room and board as they paid him. "His" union lied repeatedly and fought to keep his pension until he died, only paying my widowed mother by order of a federal court. But the fact remains that the electricity powering our computers likely comes from coal.  And when I visit, we hunt mostly recovered land because the rest is accessable only to billy goats.  After a generation of growth it has a diversity of plant and wildlife.  When we are not hunting recovered land, we are on old mining or logging access roads.  The coal companies allow hunting on great lands they control.  When we go shopping, to the movies, to the hospital, to golf, to trap shoot, it is all on recovered land.  Either recovered from mining or massive road construction, which most evironmentalist tried to stop also.  When we fish it is in pristine (looking) mountain water.  The only pollution I see is shamefull littering.  After every rain, the riverside "diaper trees" are in full bloom.

There are no easy answers to our energy problems.  But I think we should concentrate on making coal cleaner burning and more accessable, not less.

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there was a article in Gun Dog magazine years ago that spoke very favorably of the quail populations on these recovered strip mines its a well kept secret
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The number of trout streams in the north east ruined by acid mine run off is staggering. Nothing lives in those creeks, not even insects. Acid precipitation, created by the sulfuric acid from coal fired power plant plumes, is ruining even more streams.   :devil:

Although I am now back home in south Texas I will never forget the devastation of trout streams and mountain forest ecosystems caused by coal power plants. Why are these corporations and unions allowed to pollute everyones' trout streams and landscapes, heedless of the costs to the environment??

So I say not even one coal power plant should be allowed to operate untill every damn one of them puts on the best available technology to prevent acid rain.  :unclesam:

JMHO,

Quailguy

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