The Hills Are Dead With the Sound of Mining
On Saturday, the Clinton administration backed off its support for a legislative rider that would permit the dumping of mining waste into streams in West Virginia. Last week, the administration angered enviros by siding with West Virginia Democrats who are pushing to protect the coal industry’s use of a strip-mining technique known as “mountaintop removal,” which uses explosives to tear away entire peaks and then dumps rock waste into valleys and streams. A federal judge ruled last month that mountaintop removal mining violates the Clean Water Act and federal mining rules, but on Friday the judge put a stay on his own ruling, pending an appeal to a higher court. On Saturday the administration said the judge’s move eliminates the need for the legislative action, championed by Sen. Robert Byrd (D-W.Va.).