The Bush White House and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency agreed to revoke a 25-year old rule that could make it harder for coal mining companies to remove the tops of mountains and deposit the soil and rocks in streams running through the valleys below. Mountaintop removal mining has been a concern of people living in the coalfields of Kentucky, Tennessee and West Virginia.

Ken Ward Jr. of the Charleston (WV) Gazette explains the situation best. Ward reports that governors from Tennessee and Kentucky have joined with environmental groups to oppose the Bush Administration’s plans.

The Washington Post writes: “A senior administration official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because the rule has not been published, said new safeguards in the regulation will reduce the amount of waste deposited in Appalachian mountain waterways and is “going to impose costs on the coal industry.” But coal officials, who had lobbied for the change, said it would not burden the industry and would help protect Appalachia’s 14,000 mountaintop mining jobs.”

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