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This news story originally provided by the The Daily Mail


Poll shows most oppose mountaintop removal mining

By The Associated Press
Wednesday July 14, 2004
A new poll has found 56 percent of West Virginians oppose mountaintop removal coal mining.

Democratic pollster Celinda Lake conducted the poll of 500 likely voters for the Lewisburg-based Appalachian Center for the Economy and the Environment.

"West Virginians know that the coal industry is using our resources for short-term gains at the expense of our future," Joe Lovett, the center's executive director, said.

The poll, which had a 4.4 percent margin of error, found 39 percent "strongly oppose" and 17 percent "somewhat oppose" the mountaintop removal. Seventeen percent said they "somewhat favor" and 12 percent said they "strongly favor" the practice. Fifteen percent were unsure.

The poll, which was conducted in mid-June, found 58 percent of women and 54 percent of men opposed the practice.

Bill Raney, president of the West Virginia Coal Association, declined detailed comment on the results of the poll, saying he had not seen the wording of the questions asked.

"Given who paid for it, I would think that they are disappointed that it wasn't 100 percent against," he said.

A federal court ruling Thursday barred the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers from using a streamlined process to approve mountaintop removal mining permits in West Virginia's southern coalfields.

Although the majority of West Virginia's coal is mined underground, companies have been turning to mountaintop removal mining to extract thinner seams.

The process involves blasting the mountaintop to expose the coal. Rock and dirt leftover from the reclamation process is pushed into valleys to create fills. As a result, more than 1,000 miles of streams in Appalachia's coal regions have been buried.


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