Twilight Earth has the news that the Obama Administration announced new rules for mountaintop removal mining that should reduce the amount of damage the evil practice wrecks on the landscape. EPA Administrator Lisa P. Jackson signed a Memorandum of Understanding that will tighten up the near "anything goes" atmosphere coal companies enjoyed in the Bush years. Swing over to Twilight Earth to read all the wonky details.
Local activists and community advocates are not happy. Solve Climate has a great sampling of what various groups think about the new plan. Appalachian Voices, Kentuckians for the Commonwealth, Coal River Mountain Watch, Kentucky Waterways Alliance and EarthJustice all want the Obama administration to go further. Judith Petersen, executive director of Kentucky Waterways Alliance said,
"By moving to end the Nationwide Permit, the administration is making it harder for coal companies to bury streams and promising tougher enforcement. But we believe that if fully enforced, the Clean Water Act would prohibit filling streams with mining waste, making mountaintop removal coal mining nearly impossible."Coal is the enemy of mankind (and to America's national security) and mountaintop removal mining is an evil practice that ruins entire landscapes and mountain ranges. It's also a highly profitable way to dig coal out of the ground and will be a hard dragon to slay.
There's a lot of money entrenched in the coal lobby, and I'm not sure it will be easy to ban the practice outright in one fell swoop. President Obama is trying to get a lot of things done now and I'm not sure he can afford an all-out assault by a pissed off coal industry. They fight dirty. We might have to settle for getting there incrementally.