Kentuckians Gather To Show Their Love For The Mountains

By: Danielle Morgan Email
By: Danielle Morgan Email

Kentuckians for the Commonwealth rallied at the state capitol to show their love for the mountains. Many made the trip to Frankfort from Eastern Kentucky in support of House Bill 385, a bill to protect Kentucky's waterways and valleys from being filled by debris from mountaintop removal. But coal supporters believe this bill has a hidden agenda.

They want to keep the beauty of the mountains and protect the state's waterways.

"We got to look to the future and that is water," said Rodney Adams of Cumberland.

House Bill 385 would put, what some call, the most strict regulations ever on disposal of debris from mountain top removal, mandating all debris would have to be placed back on the mountain from where it was removed or on an abandoned mine site eliminating any disposal into waterways no matter how small.

Rodney Adams from Harlan County says he sees the effects of the mining process everyday.

"You can go down there right now and streams that had continuous streams of water and now they've dried up because they don't have no watershed no more," Adams said.

Central Kentuckians are in on the fight because of their concern for pollution of the Kentucky River, a main source of drinking water for the state.

"Coal companies don't have to demonstrate any longer that the over burden is not waste material they just dump it whenever and wherever they want," said Transylvania Student Marcie Smith. "The permits are given very liberally with very little oversight."

While supporters say they merely want to reform mountain top removal, coal operators believe their true efforts are to stop the mining process altogether.

Dave Blankenship with TECO Coal says the majority of pollution of waterways comes from industries other than coal mining.

So far, House Bill 385 has not made it to the floor for debate. It remains in the Natural Resources and Environment Committee.

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