Front Porch Blog

I dream of reclamation

Those of you who have been involved in the fight to end mountaintop removal for a while will be surprised to learn that we’ve been barking up the wrong tree all along. According to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources, reclaimed mountaintop removal sites look a lot like this idyllic little scene that they have posted on their website in which it is quite obvious that the water and forest are in healthy shape and the heavy metal contamination from the mining has been cleaned up to the point that farmers can produce healthy food!image

According to ODNR:

Removing the top of the mountain results in a unique opportunity to create relatively flat terrain that is suitable for residential, agricultural, and other development in areas where much of the natural terrain is too steep for any developed economic use.

The ODNR website goes on to give a detailed explanation of what’s happening in this picture:

The flat or very gently rolling area on the right side of the illustration is land reclaimed after a mountaintop removal operation was completed. Many new land uses can be established on reclaimed mountaintop removal mining sites. The illustration shows a mined area reclaimed for agricultural use in the foreground, and for the site of a new village in the background. In the far background to the left of this reclaimed operation, another mountaintop removal operation is underway on an adjacent hilltop.

In contrast to this idyllic view, the Office of Surface Mining is actually weaking the already anemic reclamation standards whereby coal companies spray “reclaimed” sites with some exotic grass seed and move on to the next hilltop. Check out what OSM is up to in the write-up by Front Porch Blog contributor Scot Chandwater.





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