Groups Use Google Program To Show Effects Of Mountaintop Mining

VICCO, Ky. (AP) - Environmentalists in eastern Kentucky are using a computer program to boost their case against mountaintop mining.

They're using mapping software by Google in a campaign called "I Love Mountains."

The program uses aerial imaging to show the extent of the mining technique, which blasts the tops off of mountains to get at coal.

Mary Anne Hitt is the executive director of Appalachian Voices, one of a half-dozen environmental groups involved in the Internet campaign.

She says the mining is largely unseen, unless it's observed in a flyover. The groups have launched a web site to show the effects of mining as seen from overhead.

Coal industry supporters say the campaign is trying to use shock and that the web site is misleading. A spokesman for the Kentucky Coal Association says the campaign fails to show the benefits of the flattened land the mining leaves behind.

(Copyright 2006 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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