The Appalachian area, the mountain chain in the eastern part of the us, may no longer retain its pristine glory if the Bush administration has its way. It has proposed revising a policy that limits mining activity near streams. The interior department stands guilty of quietly stripping the mountain range, increasing pollution and filling up the streams with dirt and rock, by allowing the entry of mining industries.
The method, dubbed 'mountaintop mining,' involves shearing off the tops of ridges to expose a coal seam and pushing the gravel into nearby streambeds. The department's proposal would eliminate an existing policy (implemented by former us President Ronald Reagan) that says land within 9.29 metres of a stream cannot be disturbed by mining activity unless a company can prove that the work won't affect the stream's water quality and quantity. Environmentalists claim the revision will encourage a particularly destructive method of mining coal.
The Independent has linked this soft-pedalling to fund-raisers that are topping up campaign donation coffers. The modification of the ban shows that the coal lobby would be protected at the cost of the environment.
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