Monday, July 27, 2009

Cardin & Alexander Seek To Ban Mountain Top Removal

Senator Benjamin L. Cardin (D-Md), left, and Senator Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn), right, have introduced legislation (Alexander-Cardin Appalachian Restoration Act- S. 696) to ban mountaintop-removal coal mining. They hope to stop the removing ountaintops in West Virginia and Kentucky and prevent a resurgence of the practice in Tennessee. Tennessee produced 2.3 million tons of coal last year, compared with 158 million tons in West Virginia and 120 million tons in Kentucky.

The bill would effectively end mountaintop removal by amending the Clean Water Act to prohibit the dumping of mining waste in streams. It would allow other types of open-pit, surface mining.

AAEA opposes mountaintop removal and supports the Alexander-Cardin legislation.

Alexander has introduced legislation with Sen. Thomas R. Carper (D-Del.) to reduce the sulfur, nitrogen and mercury emissions of coal-burning power plants, which provide about 60 percent of Tennessee's power. Alexander supports coal and has described it as "an essential part of our energy future," and he has pushed for "a mini-Manhattan project" for research into carbon capture and sequestration to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from coal plants. Alexander is also a big proponent of nuclear power, which provides a third of Tennessee's energy. He also supports wind energy in general, but opposes proposals for wind farms in the Appalachian Mountains. (Wash Post, 7/26/09)

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