Thank you, West Virginia….

By Michael A. Fuoco, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

One week ago this evening I returned from six physically and emotionally grueling days covering the Upper Big Branch mine disaster in Montcoal, W.Va. Since then, I keep thinking of the 29 brave souls whose time on Earth ended deep beneath it. I pray they didn’t suffer. I think of the family and friends left to mourn them. I pray their suffering is somehow salved. I think of the kindness bestowed upon me and other journalists as the tragedy unfolded around us. I pray karma rewards them.

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Reversing Bush Administration Policy, Great News!

The US government took the first steps Wednesday to reverse a last-minute rule passed by the Bush administration which allowed coal mine operators to dump excavated material into streams.
The Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement (OSM) announced “an advance notice of rulemaking that would govern the overall operations and conduct of where to place excess oil from mountaintop mining,” Frank Quimby, a spokesman for the Interior Department, which oversees the OSM, told AFP.
The Interior Department will also seek to strengthen its oversight of actions to protect streams from the adverse impacts of coal mining, including while the new rules are being worked out, Quimby said.
The administration of former president George W. Bush in its last weeks revised a rule that had stood for 25 years and had broadly prohibited dumping excess material produced in coal mining operations — called overburden — within 100 feet of streams. Read more in this article.