U.S. cracks down on coal mining pollution.

PositionBrief article

The United States has issued new water pollution rules for mountaintop-removal coal mining. In April, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) warned that operations that substantially increase the electrical conductivity of nearby streams--a salt-content measurement that indicates the amount of dissolved toxic solids floating downstream--would not receive permits. "We expect these guidances to change behavior ..., because if we continue to do what we have been doing we will continue to see increasing degradation of water quality," said EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson.


During mountaintop removal, miners blast ridges to access underground coal seams and then push the rubble into adjacent depressions, often filling valley streams with soil contaminants. According to the EPA, such "Valley fills" have affected nearly 3,220...

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