HomeUncategorizedMountaintop Removal Refuse Fight Still Raging In Appalachia

The Obama administration is set to ask the courts to overturn an 11th hour Bush policy change that now allows the dumping of surface mining refuse 100ft near streams.

Governor Steve Beshear, Attorney General Jack Conway, Congressman John Yarmuth and Congressman Ben Chandler has sent protest letters to the EPA asking them to reject Bush's policy change a few months ago.

Right or wrong; that organized protest backfired as dozens of Kentucky Coal County Legislators protested the protest. The political fallout in the coal fields is still evolving. We may not know how bad it really is for a few months.

My sources tell me…

that there is little that can be done to stop the Obama administration. Like I said; right or wrong this issue is a hot topic in the coal fields. Many believe that the EPA's attempt to halt MTR permits a few weeks ago was the first shot in the new war against coal.

I do not agree; I believe it was the first shot in the continuing war against mountaintop removal. According to our last (Rural Democrat) survey on mountaintop removal it appears that opinions are changing away from MTR.

View the survey HERE

I believe MTR is quickly becoming a quicksand issue. The opinions of Rural Kentuckians are changing and our elected officials need to pay close attention to these opinions.




Mountaintop Removal Refuse Fight Still Raging In Appalachia — 11 Comments

  1. I oppose MTR but since there are no mountains where I live it does not affect me as much. For those who live in the areas this occurs in they should be out now letting however they feel about it be known.

  2. We have been fighting hard for years to stop MTR.  The push back is on going.  Appalachia can’t stand anymore of the prosperity.  www.wisecountyissues.com/?p=138

    • Is there groundwater that is recharged from water that mixes with MTR run-off?

      The net of impact spread far beyond the actual communities most directly damaged by MTR.

      • … I guess you got to worry more about some coal ash dam breaking and getting heavy metals into the LBTL watershed.

        (BTW, there is also far less heavy metal problem with biocoal ash, so its far easier to recycle as a raw material than mineral coal ash)

  3. is shifting in Appalachia. Folks here really don’t like MTR but big coal feeds them so much crap they support it and shut up.

    Facts: Less than 10% of our coal is extracted via MTR. Around 400 to 700 people are directly employed by MTR, another 1500 or so indirectly employed by MTR. Big coal runs the MTR show, small operators can not afford the start up costs to extract the mineral via MTR. MTR is destructive, BUT if a good post mining reclamation plan is in place, LIKE THEY DO ALL THE TIME IN VIRGINIA, you have a new school, new factory, new Church, new shopping center built on the reclaimed land and that takes the sting out of MTR. With the lack of leadership in the coal lobby here in KY, those things don’t happen. BUT at this point in time, eliminating around 2000 jobs in Appalachia is not a reasonable option.

    I think the curtain is closing on MTR and closing fast.  

  4. You are obviously more knowledgble on it than me. Taking jobs in poor areas of the country is always bad though. Especially in a recession.

  5. isn’t “will they get the coal or won’t they?”  The issue is how much is the coal gonna cost.  MTR is the most inexpensive methodology to remove/extract the coal.  The easiest is using the 2-acre rule.  Details on demand.

    If surface mining technology is prohibited, they will be forced underground.  Underground requires more investment, results in higher wages for more highly trained miners AND the reclamation plan will have some connection to reality.

    Any of you ever read a reclamation plan?  Seen a reclamation plan hit the ground?  Inspected a plan area after completion?

    Ever seen a KRA (Kentucky Reclamation Association) vehicle?  Listened to testimony from a KRA employee?

    Underground mining is UNION mining.  Mine owners will find any way to thwart the UNION.  The only way to insure the defeat of mine owners, safely extract the coal and support the miners is outlawing surface mining and any of its derivative forms.

    Now … about the election.  We are faced with a choice – Hobson-esque though it be.  I’m not sure we know how to do this without giving Republicans enough ammo to hang us in the general.  

    I’m just not sure Mongi actually has a record of positive experience.  His judgement is highly suspect with his support of surface mining technologies and their purveyors.  His endorsement and sponsorship of legislation to disenfranchise a statistical minority of the Commonwealth doesn’t get him any experience points – except as a “professional politician, who knows what to say to anyone to get himself re-elected.”.  His political posture is anti-labor from my west Kentucky perspective.  What does he know of farming?  As an anti-labor Democrat, how far can he be trusted to not do a Gramm or Shelby and bolt to the Republican Party, on arrival or before.  He certainly won’t get preferential committee appointments like Yarmouth got.

    Conway is a sity liberal.  As a small town Ky-ian, I have a deeply seated suspicion of anyone from ‘The Golden Triangle’.  Fortunately, I don’t have a Kentucky education, so I recognise their insidious prattling for what it really is:  supercilious snobbery.  We who are from the stix need to sit-down, sign-on, get-with-the-plan, let-us-run-the-thing, and just-shut-up-about-it – is their modi operandi.  Conway likely has the situational judgement I would trust in office when compared to Mongi – but until he gets out and campaigns in the state in places other than:  Ashland, Owensboro, Bowling Green, Paducah, E-Town, Somerset, Corbin, Hop-town, Maysville, Henderson, Hazard or Harlan County and goes to Hindman, White Plains, Thousand Sticks, Cadiz, the counties – Larue, Edmonson, Monroe, Green, Whitley, Taylor, Livingstone, Wolfe, Lyon or Union.  Places where he’s not understood and they will disagree with him disagreeably – until then he’s too effete to beat Bunning or Grayson.

  6. … are far greater, since there is not just the work in cultivating and harvesting the coppice wood, but since the production of biocoal itself is a weight losing activity, and some of the most energy efficient technologies are small scale, batch production technologies, there are very strong location advantages for producing the bio-coal near where the coppice is harvested.

    And those are permanent jobs, which can finance the construction of schools and churches, and provide business to support construction of shopping centers, where in many areas after the MTR jobs have moved on, “reclamation” of land that is no longer fit for natural resource production would only result in the construction of white elephants.

    But tapping that potential requires people getting behind it … Big Coal is not going to line up behind a major source of employment that would eliminate its big political argument in Coal Country.

  7. If you don’t mind me asking are you supporting anyone or are you as of yet undecided like me??

    I have said  all along both these guys have strengths and weaknesses and I consider Mongi’s stance on MTR one of his weaknesses. There is no doubt it is done on the cheap, at least in Kentucky.

    Conway may very well have trouble in the rural regions being from the triangle. It is going to be very interesting to see how this primary plays out.

    Thanks for the great reply. Hope to see more of you.

    Best wishes!!

  8. For the reply. As I said I am opposed to it. Every way it has ever been described to me I thought it was wrong. Luckily, we are pretty flat in Paducah so I at least don’t have to worry about that. We just have a bunch of nuclear waste to dispose of, no big deal. LOL!!!

    Please feel free to write a diary about the fight over MTR or any info about the practice. In fact, feel free to write about anything!! I will make sure it hits the frontpage. Thanks for joining and welcome!!

    Best wishes!!