Coal mining grounded

Published: Wednesday 15 May 2002

Houses and roads near a coal mine can collapse without warning. A landmark decision of the US district court in Columbia has therefore prohibited coal mining companies from collapsing the surface of land over their mines.

The SC noted that underground mines can cause the land surface to sink which can damage homes, parklands and even cause water pollution. In a previous case relating to the potential effects of underground mining, the SC ruled that "damage can occur to buildings, roads, pipelines, cables, streams, water impoundments, wells and aquifers. Buildings can crack or tilt, roads may be lowered or cracked, streams and aquifers can all be drained into the underground excavations".

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