Tuesday, 10 June 2008

Government Agencies

U.S. Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works. (2008). Statement of Senator Enzi on the Lieberman-Warner Bill. Washington, D.C.

The Committee on Environment and Public Works features articles, blogs, and news on environmental justice progress in the United States. The Statement of Senator Enzi on the Lieberman-Warner bill is an interesting argument posed for Congress against the bill which has set restrictions on industries' pollution emissions. Senator Enzi discusses coal mining in Wyoming, and how the process differs from Appalachia's coal mining. Senator Enzi argues that coal mining in the west is not as destructive as it is in the east because of the different land types, and that its should be banned in the east, but allowed in the west after important evaluations are made. This statement from Senator Lieberman under the Committee on Environment and Public Works would be useful to a researcher because it provides a comparison between coal mining in two different areas and a perspective that differs from most. A researcher could develop possible solutions with this information as to how environmental health can exist in a coal mining world. More importantly, a researcher can discover further into where certain important officials stand on the issue of mountain top removal strip coal mining. 

U.S. Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources. (2008). Overview: About the Committee. Washington D.C.

The U.S. Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources has considered, reported, and overseen some of the most important environmental legislation ever enacted by Congress. The legislation they oversee can be described in the following major areas: energy resources and development including regulation, conservation, petroleum reserves and appliance standards, nuclear energy, etc. The committee has worked with mountaintop removal issues in regulating the amount of coal mined from the area, and the processes used. The committee strives to balance the relationship between coal extraction and the surrounding natural resources affected by the mining. This agency would be a useful source for a researcher because it's a very neutral, very official committee that strives to maintain balance for both parties involved in the mountaintop removal issue. A researcher can gain a very balanced and very realistic idea of what the coal industry is striving for and what environmental organizations are striving for when given an agency that strives to protect both.

Government Documents

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. (2000). West Virginia Regulatory Program. (Vol. 65 No. 161).

This government document, produced by the EPA is an amendment to the West Virginia Regulatory Program under the Surface Mining Control and Reclamation Act of 1977. The amendment includes changes to West Virginia's regulations for mountaintop removal practices, making mountaintop removal practices more consequential for the coal industry. Some of the stipulations include restoring destroyed land and receiving proper documentation from landowners for permission to mine. This document would be very useful to researchers because it's pretty much the "meat and potatoes" of how environmental activist groups are fighting the coal industry. The document is legal proof of where the coal industry, environmental groups and the government stand. Reviewing this document not only provides the researcher with the laws in place for coal miners to follow, but how they have broken those rules in their practices.

U.S. Natural Resources Conservation Service. (2005). Land Reclamation Toxic Discharge Control. (No.) Code 455.

This government document, produced by the Natural Resources Conservation Service, pertains to the control of acid or otherwise toxic, aqueous discharge from abandoned coal mines or waste produced from coal strip mining practices. The purpose of the stipulation is to improve water quality and other destructive consequences of coal strip mining and mountaintop removal methods. The document outlines how these regulations will be implemented and what they will entail for the coal industry. This document would be useful to a researcher because it allows the researcher to see more affects of mountaintop removal, specifically with water quality, and can see where government agencies, like the Natural Resources Conservation Service have entered the battle against mountaintop removal. Documents like these not only give the researcher a sense of the legal processes behind environmental battles, but more of a knowledge and familiarity with the government agencies that initiate the laws and codes.

Statistical Sources

West Virginia Highlands Conservancy. Mountaintop Removal Strip Mining Statistics. Retrieved June 10, 2008, from http://www.wvhighlands.org

This website provides updated, in-depth statistical research on mountaintop removal practices in West Virginia. Some of the statistics provides are: Between 1992 and 2002, 380,000 acres of mountain tops were destroyed; the 800+ square miles of mountains estimated to be already destroyed equals a one-quarter mile wide swath of destruction from New York to San Francisco; and Over 1,000 miles of West Virginia streams have been buried by mountaintop removal valley fills which is longer than the Ohio River. These statistics cover the wide range of destruction that mountaintop removal has produced on West Virginia turf. These statistics, and the many more listed on the web page, would be useful to a researcher because they truly put into perspective the damage that mountaintop removal has had on the land. A researcher could use these statistics for factual, credible evidence of the practice's impact on the planet.

Appalachian Voices. Mountaintop Removal Coal Mining in Central Appalachia: An Overview for the Congress of the United States. Retrieved June 10, 2008, from http://www.appvoices.org/images/uploads/AppVoicesMTRBooklet_web.pdf

This booklet put together by the Appalachian Voices organization is presentational information for Congress and provides detailed statistical information to show the impact of mountaintop removal. Some of the statistics include: In West Virginia, mountaintop removal has brought fewer jobs to the area, amounting to only 1.2% of employment; mountaintop removal mining in West Virginia produces less than 60 mst/yr of the nation's total annual production of 1100 mst.; and West Virginia's streams now contain between .35 and 2.3 p/m antimony in them. The statistics provided are very specific and revealing of how the practice has lowered environmental and economic standards in the West Virginia region. These statistics would be useful to a researcher because they also allow the researcher to see in factual and numerical terms just how much the mountaintop removal practice ha affected the area in all aspects. The researcher would be able to to prove and measure destruction with these variables in however he or she used the information.

Monday, 9 June 2008

Online Reference Sources

(2007). BNET: Environmental Encyclopedia, from http://bnet.com/

This online reference site features reporting on environmental issues. One article entitled, "Mountaintop Removal" relays one reporters in-depth investigation of the legal processes that the coal industry is supposed to go through before practicing strip coal mining in the mountains, but how frequently it forgoes the necessary processes before mining. The article describes some of the stipulations to coal mining, including rebuilding land that has been destroyed and reclaiming the land to its approximate original contour. This article would be useful to a researcher because it provides background to the legal processes that must take place before mining, and how the government attempts to regulate the process. However, because the coal industry frequently disregards the necessary procedures, a researcher can infer that mountaintop removal is taking place under untruthful terms, or at least research further into coal industry and government negotiations. 

(2008). Britannica. West Virginia, from http://britannica.com/eb/article-78622/West-Virginia

This encyclopedia entry provides background on West Virginia and their history in coal mining. The entry describes West Virginia's employment record, how coal mining processes have evolved, and other industries in the region that have an effect on the coal industry. This entry would be useful to a researcher because it gives more of a background on West Virginia's economy as a whole and how that plays a role in the coal industry and mountaintop removal practices. Knowing how West Virginia's industries as a whole come together and function can help the researcher see where coal mining fits into the economy and weigh the consequences of allowing mountaintop removal and not allowing it. 

Reference Sources

(2007). The Encyclopedia of Environment and Society 1st ed.,Vol. 1. pgs. 58-59, 289-291.

Appalachian Mountains and Coal: This section of the encyclopedia provides information on the history of coal extraction from the Appalachian mountains. It goes into great detail about what type of coal is found in the Appalachians: bitumious, and how Appalachia is the leading producer of this type of coal. The article features the Appalachian Regional Commission, which is devoted to improving land and mountain conditions in the region. The article presents the history of coal use in America and today's many environmental consequences from it. This encyclopedia would be useful for a researcher because it is specific to environmental issues and allows the researcher to access a wide range of environmental problems that may be connected to mountaintop removal. A researcher could link the use of coal to all of its problems, which can then link all environmental issues together and to a common source.

(2004). The Greenwood Encyclopedia of American Regional Cultures: The South 1st ed., Vol. 1. pgs. 96-97.

Ecology and Environment-Appalachian Gold: This section of the encyclopedia provides information on the history of coal extraction from the Appalachian mountains  and how the technique of mountain strip mining came into existence. The article also explains how mountain strip mining allowed a deeper access to coal, and how bituminous coal is unique to the Appalachian region. The article describes the Appalachian mountains to be the most biologically diverse land region in the world, and how most of those unique habitats are destroyed through mountaintop removal. This article would be useful to a researcher because it gives a very good history on the Appalachian area and the techniques that they have developed over the years. A researcher would want to be familiar with the evolution of the area and how the techniques have progressed to become familiar with how the techniques of mountaintop removal function today.

Scholarly Journals

Anft, Michael. (2007). Environmental Groups Battle Over Coal's Future. Chronicle of Philanthropy, 20 (2), 25-25.

Michael Anft provides a detailed report on the disparate views of the coal industry in the United States, focusing on the West Virginia mountains where activists are working hard to prevent coal mining by mountaintop removal methods. The article explores different activist groups' views on what should be done to solve some of the mountaintop removal processes, including some groups who completely oppose the the use of coal, some groups that don't recommend the complete stoppage of coal use but encourage exploring other alternatives to using coal, and all groups that collectively agree that mountaintop removal needs to be stopped. This article would be useful to a researcher because it provides a wide range of opinions on the mountaintop removal issue, and even includes the extreme views of both sides. A researcher would benefit from exploring the different opinions on what can be done to stop mountaintop removal and what the effects of each method would produce.

Motavalli, Jim. (2007). Once There Was a Mountain. The Environmental Magazine, 20 (2), 34-39

Motavalli discusses the effect of coal mining and mountaintop removal on the landscape, environment and people of the Kayford Mountains of West Virginia. It states that the mountains have been replaced by bare, flat, and terraced plateaus. The article also mentions the fact that coal strip mining in the Appalachian mountains has destroyed a whole culture and way of life. It informs that elevation is not included in many coal industrys' plans and that students in local elementary schools are being affected by the dust. The article also discusses various lawsuits and legislations for and against coal mining in the region. This article would be useful to a researcher because it gives specific examples of coal strip mining's destruction to the environment and people and provides true cases where the practice has devastated lives. A researcher would benefit in knowing where the practice has made it's mark in real lives to further research the people of the area, and to possibly contact the residents in the Appalachian area.

Sloan, Bob. (2007). Moving Mountains. Earth Island Journal, 22 (3), 44-47.

Bob Sloan presents information of mountaintop removal and its growth into all the northeast states. The article also discusses how mountaintop removal operations conducted in Kentucky have destroyed several important ecological and historic sites and how the constant blasting from mining sites have shifted the water table leading to the dry up of wells. This article would be useful to a researcher because it also addresses specific problems that have arose from mountaintop removal, which allows the researcher to see the problem through a microscope- how it affects a multiple aspects. A researcher could also look further into how far the consequences of mountaintop removal actually go.

Sunday, 8 June 2008

Newspaper Article Sources

Mountaintop Rescue. (2007, March 29). The New York Times, from http://www.nytimes.com/editorials

This article is a brief update on how environmental advocacy groups have found reason to present to congress in the coal industry's forge into the Appalachian mountains. The article features two regional groups: Earthjustice and Appalachian Center for the Economy and Environment, and the evidence they uncovered revealing that the coal industry had failed to demonstrate that mountaintop removal's damage could be undone, and that the industry had failed to conduct necessary environmental reviews. This article is a useful source for a researcher as a quick reference to who is involved in the mountaintop removal issue, how government has been responding to it, and whether activist groups are making progress. A researcher would discover specifically how the Bush Administration has responded to the issue and could further research the Bush Administration's involvement with it.

Coal Industry Digs In For the Long Run. (2008, March 13). The Charleston, from http://www.wvgazette.com/news/edwardpeeks

This article is from a very neutral perspective, and discusses more of the coal industry's involvement in the whole issue. It relays where the coal industry stands as far as its extraction processes, like mountaintop removal, and where it sees itself going in the future despite environmental agencies' battle. The article also features West Virginia and the fact that they have the highest number of underground mines in the country. This article would be useful for a researcher because it allows the researcher to see the mountaintop removal issue from the coal industry's perspective and why the practice is still going on even after countless protests from environmental groups. The article gives a researcher more of a description of a coal miner's job and how much of Appalachia is made up of coal mine workers. A researcher would value knowing both sides to the argument in order to see the issue as a legitimate battle.

La Torre, Nicholas. Appalachian Expert Decries Popular Misunderstanding of Region. (2007, October 8). The Athens News, from http://athensnews.com/new/campusnews/2007

This article features a speaker who lectured at Ohio University about the Appalachian land and its unique culture. Jeff Biggers wrote a book entitled, "The United States of Appalachia: How Southern Mountaineers Brought Independence, Culture and Enlightenment to America." Jeff lectured on how Appalachia is the most diverse place in America and that its unique culture comes from the evolution of mountaineer settlements in the region. This article reviews some of the topics and issues Jeff brought up in his lecture. One of those issues is mountaintop removal, and Jeff looks at it from an identity crisis standpoint. The article points to Jeff's belief that strip coal mining in the Appalachians is equivalent to "raping the land and culture" and erasing the history of Appalachia. His main concern is for the continuation of Appalachian culture for future generations to enjoy. This article would be useful to a researcher because it brings a new perspective to the reasons why mountaintop removal is harmful. Not only is it harmful to the environment and people, but it erases history and culture of what has always been a unique area. A researcher would benefit from knowing all of the factors involved in the problems that mountaintop removal brings.