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Bloomberg’s Jim Efstathiou Jr. writes about the threat the mayfly posses to mountaintop removal coal mining in the East. The Bloomberg reporter writes that applicants for new mines must show that they won’t cause pollution that will adversely affect the mayfly. (Above.) Efstathiou writes: “That puts at risk about $3 billion a year in coal that operators led by Massey Energy Co. and International Coal Group Inc. extract in Appalachia, said Kevin Book, an analyst at ClearView Energy Partners LLC. Without fresh permits to dump debris, mines may shut by 2012 in states such as West Virginia, he said.
‘The future of mountaintop mining looks bleak,’ Book, who is based in Washington, said in an interview. ‘Ripping off mountaintops gets cheap clean coal, but there’s no way to do it without environmental impacts.’”
Deepmining coal adds from $3 to $10 a ton to production costs. Mountaintop removal accounts for 6 percent of U.S. coal production. And ending mountaintop mining in Appalachia would remove 70 million tons a year from the market, increasing the demand for western coal. “More than 1,200 miles (1,930 kilometers) of creeks and streams have been buried by mining debris in Appalachia from surface-mining techniques, including mountaintop removal, the EPA said in 2005,” Efstathiou wrote.
The EPA for the first time has held up mountaintop mining permits because of potential harm to the mayfly.