The Bush administration is set to issue a regulation on Friday that would enshrine the coal mining practice of mountaintop removal. The technique involves blasting off the tops of mountains and dumping the rubble into valleys and streams.
The journalist who wrote this piece lets some unsupported talking points just slip by. First of all, coal does not solve the US dependence on “foreign oil”. Coal is used for electricity, oil is used for cars, there is little overlap. Secondly, he claims that mountaintop mining is safer. I guess it is safer because it is cheaper to ensure the safety of the miners above ground rather than underground. But, that does not make it inherently safer!
For all the devastating effects of mountaintop removal mining, including death, water pollution, habitat destruction, flooding, landslides, read this grist article from 2006.
The go-to site for activism relating to this issue is IloveMountains. Go see it!