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Reforestation of the Mines

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One of the biggest concerns of surface mining is how to restore the land once the mining is complete. The older practice of reclaiming the land using grasses has give way to reforestation efforts and other more environmentally favorable methods. This is the first in a series of stories on the many issues involved with surface mine reclamation. Photographs by Charles Bertram

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4 Responses to “Reforestation of the Mines”
  1. Marion County says:

    Does anyone in Fayette County believe that coal would be mined this way if it was found on the horse farms in Lexington or in Cherokee Park in Louisville? No way possible There is no pretty way to put lipstick on a pig.
    If the coal companies were concerned about the environment and concerned about jobs, they would mine coal underground like it was done for years, using coal miners and not destroying the land. There is close to 70 percent fewer coal miners than 20 years ago, yet they mine more coal than 20 years ago. There is nothing environmentally favorable methods that are practiced by the coal industry today.
    Unfortunately, the out of town coal companies do not care about the land or jobs, they care about cheap.

  2. Kitty says:

    Saving the environment and making it sustainable for centuries to come *is* saving men (and women). These reclamation projects are wonderful. Please don’t be fooled into thinking that coal companies practice surface mining out of some sort of love for the lives of coal miners. They do it because it is cheaper and they are able to use *fewer* miners, i.e. they are raping the land *AND* putting fewer jobs and money into local economies. It’s a win-win situation for coal companies, the vast majority of which are owned by corporate behemoths located far away from our beautiful mountains and hills. They could care less what happens to our land — our heritage! In addition, surface mining destroys *a lot* of local eco-systems,and often makes local folks sick (via run-off, polluted water systems, etc.)If coal is so great, why are the underground *and* surface mines located in some of the poorest counties in the state?

    • Adam says:

      There is no such thing as sustainable coal mining as deposits do run out.

      A corporate behemoth is not necessarily a bad thing. Large companies DO employ large numbers of people — usually with better benefits and job security than smaller companies. And it doesn’t matter what size company you are with — good people watch out for one another. (Really, I think we should be MORE conscientious about helping each other, improving others’ lives, than worrying so much about the environment. I don’t mean we need to turn a blind eye to the environment though.)

      Coal companies may alter the land, but so does every other force of nature and living creature. It happens and land changes. Also, strip mining does not destroy your heritage if the land isn’t yours to inherit. I don’t own any coal land, do you? If I did, I’d only sell it if it was in my best interest and that of the community. And then it would be up to the coal company and the local government to work things out and find a responsible way of using the land.

      It would be a bad idea to mine coal in anything else than a poor county, wouldn’t it? A poor county is likely a sparsely populated county. A lot of people don’t want these mines near their town. But there are people who don’t mind having mines near their town because that’s how they have decided to make a living. People need jobs and people also want to buy coal. A new mining site is created in what would otherwise be a ghost town. Again, if enough people are against have a mine opened in their town, it can be stopped. But some people are fine with strip mining and that’s fine with me. Anyone in that minority who doesn’t like the mine needs to move away.

      As a country, we are developing a very dangerous attitude against large business and industry. If we hate every large business that makes use of our ability to process natural resources and create raw goods, we’ll be entirely at the mercy of other countries’ industrial economies.

      Thanks for reading my rant… :-)

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