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Archive for the ‘coal mining’ Category

Circuit Judge OKs Mountain Rape

Posted by feww on February 15, 2009

Virginia Court of Appeals Judge overturns a lower court ruling banning mountaintop removal

In view of reader interest in the issue, the following Reuters article is mirrored here.

U.S. court overturns ban on West Virginia surface mining

Fri Feb 13, 2009
By Steve James

NEW YORK (Reuters) – A U.S. Court of Appeals on Friday overturned a lower court ruling that had banned surface, or mountaintop, mining in West Virginia, according to court documents.

The ruling was hailed by the coal mining companies who have turned to mountaintop mining as an economical alternative to traditional underground mines in Appalachia where production is declining.

The environmentalists who brought the original case said they would assess their next legal move, but vowed to fight on against the mining method which basically slices the top off hills and mountains.

Stock in Massey Energy Co which brought the appeal with the U.S. Corps of Engineers, was up 7 percent in late trading on the New York Stock Exchange.

The 4th Circuit judges in Richmond, Virginia, reversed a ruling by U.S. District Court Judge Robert Chambers, who had found that the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers had not fully evaluated the potential environmental damage before approving permits for mountaintop mining for four mines operated by subsidiaries of Massey.

“We reverse and vacate the district court’s opinion and order of March 23, 2007, and vacate the district court’s injunction,” Friday’s opinion said.

It said that under existing regulations, the state of West Virginia has “exclusive jurisdiction over the regulation of surface coal mining and reclamation operations.”

The appeal had been brought by Massey and the West Virginia Coal Association. Surface mines account for about one-third of coal from West Virginia and half of that from Kentucky.

“We’re pleased with the court’s decision,” said Roger Hendriksen, director of investor relations for Massey.

Judge Chambers had originally ruled in favor of a petition filed by a number of groups led by the Ohio Valley Environmental Coalition. (OVEC)

Basically, OVEC contended that the Corps of Engineers had violated the Clean Water Act and the National Environmental Policy Act. Since then, the Corps has effectively frozen so-called 404 permits for surface mining.

Janet Keating, executive director of OVEC said: “We are deeply disappointed with the court’s decision. We will assess our next step, but obviously we will continue to organize against surface mining.”

In their ruling the appeals judges said basically that the Corps of Engineers had acted within regulations in place. “We cannot say that the Corps’ assessments of stream functions in the challenged permits were arbitrary and capricious.

“It is not our place to dictate how the Corps should go about assessing stream functions and losses,” they said.

Analysts had said if the ruling was upheld, Appalachian coal prices could spike and producers with a significant amount of surface exposure in Appalachia could get hurt.

Several mining companies — Massey, International Coal Group, Alpha Natural Resources and Patriot Coal Corp — would lose production if the ruling went against the miners, the analysts said.

[Note: The interest of mining companies are falsely represented as the interest of miners, despite the environmental and health hazards that plague the mining communities. FEWW]

One analyst Mark Morey, director of power systems strategy for Allstom Co Ltd said investors might hold off until the issue had been definitively resolved.

“Decisions like this are long term, so if you have any uncertainty, that’s still gonna guide what your investment is.

“Does this ‘overturn’ mean they can have a whole new round of capacity? People have been thinking this decision might be held up anyway so they’ve been making decisions for the past two years with this hanging over their heads.”

(Reporting by Steve James; editing by Carol Bishopric)
© Thomson Reuters 2009 All rights reserved

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Posted in Appalachia, Clean Water Act, coal mining, National Environmental Policy Act, surface mining | Tagged: , , , , | 1 Comment »

No End Seen to China Quake Aftershocks

Posted by feww on May 16, 2008

Another major earthquake in the making?

China Earthquake: Large Cluster of Powerful Shocks!

  • Mainshock: 7.9 Magnitude – Monday, May 12, 2008 at 02:28:01 [time at epicenter]
  • Latest aftershock: 5.5 Magnitude – Friday, May 16, 2008 at 01:25:48 PM [time at epicenter]
  • Total number of major aftershocks: 59 [and continuing]

The last 4 aftershocks have strengthened in magnitude from 4.3 to 5.5 Mw. Is there another major shock in the making?

This map shows the predicted (theoretical) travel times, in minutes, of the compressional (P) wave from the earthquake location to points around the globe. The heavy black lines shown are the approximate distances to the P-wave shadow zone (103 to 140 degrees). (Caption: USGS)

Shadow zone

The shadow zone is the area of the earth from angular distances of 104 to 140 degrees from a given earthquake that does not receive any direct P waves. The shadow zone results from S waves being stopped entirely by the liquid core and P waves being bent (refracted) by the liquid core.

Did you know?

Through measuring how P and S waves travel through the earth and out the other side, a seismic wave shadow zone was discovered in about 1910. From the lack of S waves and a great slowing of the P wave velocity (by about 40%) it was deduced that the outer core is made of liquid. The shadow zone also defined the diameter of the core.

[If the outer core was not made of liquid, Earth could probably breakup into several pieces as a result of a v. large earthquake! FEWW]

Text and image: USGS.

Posted in Beijing, beijing olympics, China, Chinese, civilization, clean water, coal mining, collapse, Collapsing Cities, energy, environment, health | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Mining Sets Off Earthquake in Germany

Posted by feww on February 24, 2008

Strongest regional quake on record

An earthquake caused by coal mining shook the Saarland region of Germany on the French border Saturday. Measuring 4.0 on the Richter scale, the earthquake caused damage to buildings and cut off the electricity supply to the area. Original report

See Also:

Earthquake shakes up German coal mining

Posted in coal mining, dirty energy, earthquake, electricity, germany, Human-enhanced natural catastrophes, Human-induced natural catastrophes | 1 Comment »