Scientists Call for Moratorium on Mountaintop Mining Permits

as reported for The Epoch Times

Read the full article about scientists calling for a moratorium on mountaintop mining here

A day after a controversial permit was issued for mountaintop mining in West Virginia, a group of leading environmental scientists is saying the practice has a severe impact on the environment and humans.

The article “Mountaintop Mining Consequences” appears in the Jan. 8, 2010, edition of Science. The internationally recognized group of hydrologists, ecologists, and engineers, which includes several members of the National Academy of Sciences, says the United States should stop issuing mountaintop mining permits.

The Science article argues that peer-reviewed research confirms such mining has irreversible environmental impacts and puts area residents at a high risk of serious health problems.

The Sierra Club environmental group said the article should be taken as a call to action.

“If the Obama administration is serious about science driving policy, then this report should be the nail in the coffin that prompts the administration to issue new Clean Water Act regulations that prohibit the dumping of mining waste into streams,” stated Ed Hopkins, environmental-quality program director at the Sierra Club in a press release.

Mountaintop mining is considered by many environmentalists and scientists to be the most destructive form of coal mining. It involves clearing upper-elevation forests and stripping topsoil before using explosives to break up rocks to expose coal deposits. The process sends rock, sediment, and debris down the mountainside, where it buries and obliterates streams. It is widespread throughout eastern Kentucky, West Virginia, and southwestern Virginia.