Bush+mine waste increase dumping

Mountaintop mining is getting a big boost from the Bush administration. This process of mining removes large mountaintop areas to expose coal. this old process has devastated forests, rivers and streams.

U.S. has moved closer to finalizing rules on the disposal of mining waste. The current rules were put in place in 1983 but needed to be clarified because of conflicting interpretations, the Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement (OSM) said in a statement released on Friday. The proposed changes, subject to review by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), would require coal mining operations to avoid the area within 100 feet of a stream or “show why avoidance is not possible,” OSM said.

Work within the 100-foot “stream buffer zone” would be prohibited unless the mining agency granted a waiver, or if the activity is exempt from the ban. Companies wanting to operate within the zone must minimize debris “to the extent possible,” the agency said. This will “allow coal companies to dump massive waste piles … directly into streams, permanently burying them,” points out Earthjustice group.

More than 2,000 miles (3,200km) of Appalachian streams already have been buried or degraded by mountaintop mining waste, the group said.

The Sierra Club urged the EPA to reject the plan, calling it “fatally flawed. It makes no effort to fairly examine alternatives and its only purpose is to expedite mining without regard to environmental damage,” said Ed Hopkins, Sierra Club director of environmental quality.

U.S. moves toward new dumping rules for mining waste – Lisa Richwine

http://www.reuters.com/news/environment Reuters Oct 18, 2008


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