The Washington Post reminds its urban readers that “Washington’s air conditioners and iPods have helped drive” a particularly destructive form of coal strip mining in the eastern mountains. The Post’s David Fahrenthod traces the coal used in DC-area power plants back to West Virginia mines, where mountains are now leveled to extract the coal. “It used to be West Virginia,” Vivian Stockman, an environmental activist, said. “And now it’s Mars.”

A West Virginia mining official estimates that 70 percent of the coal taken from strip mines comes from operations where the tops of mountains are lopped off to get to the fuel. “There’s one big reason you mountaintop mine. That’s where the good Lord put the coal,” said Bill Raney, president of the West Virginia Coal Association.

The story ends with a confrontation between an anti-strip mine activist and a coal truck driver — a staple of this issue in coal country for the past 40 years.

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