Moving mountains

A bill that would prohibit the dumping of mining waste into streams and river beds could effectively ban mountaintop mining if it passes. Mountaintop mining is a method of extracting coal after removing a mountain’s summit. The practice has ravaged habitats, streams and communities in Appalachia, where it has been practiced heavily. The Appalachia Restoration Act was introduced by Sens. Benjamin L. Cardin (D-Md.) and Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) just days after the Environmental Protection Agency announced it would take a closer look at pending permit requests for mountaintop mining operations. The EPA has since put hundreds of those permits on hold. The move has bewildered some coal mining advocates, who say restrictions on mountaintop removal could cripple that region’s economy, which is dependant upon coal mining.