Surface Mining

West Virginia Morning
West Virginia Public Broadcasting

On this West Virginia Morning, Ohio Valley residents have been asking government agencies for more than a decade to respond to science that links coal mining to health problems in nearby communities.

A 40-year-old Federal Law Literally Changed the Appalachian Landscape

Aug 5, 2017
Kara Leigh Lofton / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

Forty years ago, President Jimmy Carter signed a law that literally changed the face of Appalachia.

The Surface Mining Control and Reclamation Act of 1977 (SMCRA) was intended to replace a state-to-state patchwork of rules for strip-mining with a uniform federal standard. Four decades later, however, environmentalists say the law has fallen far short of its potential.

“Massive destruction, massive explosives -- and only 300 feet away from someone’s home,” said Thom Kay, legislative associate at Appalachian Voices. “What is SMCRA doing if that’s still allowed?”

Hobet Mine
Captain-tucker / wikimedia commons

A federal science committee studying the health risks for people living near surface coal mines has scheduled a public meeting this week in southern West Virginia.

The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine committee plans to hear from state health and environmental officials, coal operators and environmental groups at a panel discussion Tuesday in Logan.

Solar Array Planned for Kentucky Surface Mine

Apr 20, 2017
West Virginia Morning
West Virginia Public Broadcasting

On West Virginia Morning, in Louisville, Kentucky reporter Erica Peterson checks out the plans to put a solar array on the site of a surface mine in Pikeville and Poet Laureate Marc Harshman is along with a poetry break.

That’s on West Virginia Morning from West Virginia Public Broadcasting – telling West Virginia’s story.

Jessica Lilly

A jury has ruled in favor of a coal company in Wyoming County Circuit Court. The verdict came in Thursday afternoon after only a few hours of deliberations.

Jessica Lilly

This story has been updated.

Twenty-six families say that a coal company is responsible for damaging their water supply. Trial for 16 of those families begins Monday, April 11, in Wyoming County Circuit Court.

March 11, 1939: W.Va. Becomes First State to Pass Law on Surface Mining

Mar 11, 2016
Bureau of Land Management

  On March 11, 1939, the West Virginia Legislature passed the state’s first law regulating surface mining. Once referred to as strip mining, surface mining strips away earth, rock, and vegetation—known as overburden—to expose coal deposits.

The Catholic Committee of Appalachia just published a pastoral letter. It’s the third of its kind. Forty years ago the first was written and acclaimed as “one of the most significant statements to emerge from the U.S. Catholic Church,” according to the West Virginia Encyclopedia.

Associated Press

Federal officials plan to recommend the National Academy of Sciences review a series of studies that have found residents living near mountaintop removal mining operations face increased risks of serious illnesses and premature death.

WCHS TV

The West Virginia Department of Environmental Protect has closed down a mountaintop removal mine site located near a state forest in Kanawha County and is now blocking the mine operators from receiving new permits anywhere in the country. 

A nonprofit environmental group has released a mapping tool it says shows mountaintop coal mining has been expanding closer to communities in central Appalachia in recent years, with nearly half of the 50 areas most at risk in West Virginia.

NASA

Satellite images from NASA and other government agencies can tell us a lot about the changing of the climate as well as the environment. Their photo series State of Flux: Images of Change depicts noticeable differences in our world over various spans of time--looking at everything from water, air, natural disasters, as well as the impact of industry.