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Coal-mining Practices Could Be Contaminating Waterways

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There’s been a lot of talk about “clean coal” and its potential as a primary energy source and helping to end our dependence on foreign oil. Unfortunately, before we can focus on developing “clean coal” technology we need to “clean up” current coal-mining practices in Appalachia, Virginia (VA), West Virginia, Tennessee and Kentucky.

Many coal-mining operations practice “mountain top removal.” This practice involves blasting the tops off of mountains while the mountaintop debris is pushed into adjoining valleys.

In December of 2008, the Environmental Protection Agency approved the repeal of a 1983 law which prohibited surface coal mining within 100 feet of flowing streams, according to Reuters. This means the debris is being dumped extremely close to waterways, which could potentially harm the health of residents in-and-around these water supplies.

Since 1980, 1600 miles of waterway in Appalachia have been destroyed due to mountain top removal and its inevitable quantities of debris, according to The Virginian-Pilot.

The Obama administration is making efforts to enforce stricter regulations on mountain top removal and re-enforcing the 100-foot barrier between debris and waterways. However, this issue is rife with controversy due to the financial ramifications associated with restricting coal-mining practices (the U.S. is the second largest coal-mining country in the world).

Here is a video illustrating the controversy surrounding coal-mining and mountain top removal

As a personal injury lawyer, I’m always concerned about the health of our citizens. If this debris could cause adverse health effects to the citizens of Virginia (VA), West Virginia, and other areas where coal-mining is prominent, tougher restrictions need to be put in place. The health of our citizens supersedes the profits of coal-mining companies.

About the Editors: Shapiro, Cooper Lewis & Appleton personal injury law firm is based in Virginia (VA), near the NE North Carolina (NC) border and handles car,truck,railroad, and medical negligence cases and more. Our lawyers proudly edit the Virginia Beach Injuryboard, Norfolk Injuryboard, and Northeast North Carolina Injuryboard as a pro bono public information service. Lawyers licensed in: VA, NC, SC, WV, DC, KY.

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