Argument: Mountain mining creates economic opportunities on flattened land

Issue Report: Ban on mountaintop removal coal mining


“Few sites redeveloped after mining.” The Mercury. January 3th, 2011: “HINDMAN, Ky. — A short drive up a side road through dense Appalachian forest ends at a vast, flat clearing where a mountaintop used to be. The peak that stood for an eon is gone, replaced by a giant recreation area that was built after a coal company scraped away thousands of tons of earth, lowering the mountain by 200 feet. Coal industry supporters say the Knott County Sportsplex in eastern Kentucky is one of many examples of economic opportunity created by strip mining techniques that include the often-vilified method known as mountaintop removal.”

Taylor Kuykendall, “What’s In a name? ‘Mountaintop Removal’ vs. ‘Mountaintop Development'” The Register-Herald. Dec 27th, 2010: “One example of land that was developed for alternative use, Hamilton said, is a 900-acre plot in Mingo County donated for use as a regional airport. Cooperation of local officials, he said, has allowed coal companies to be a part of community development, postmining.

‘Mingo County is doing some marvelous things through their Mingo County Redevelopment Authority,’ Hamilton said. ‘This organization is partnering with the coal industry to include surface mining in its county master land use plan and to enlist the coal industry as an active partner in the process of building a new, diversified, sustainable economy for the region. This should be the model for the entire state, and we believe it is becoming so.’

He said across West Virginia, the benefits of redeveloped surface mine lands are apparent.

“Every day, you see news of this or that site, often it goes unnoticed that it was a former mine site, but the reality is that we have many former surface mine sites around the state already being used for economic development. The FBI Center in Bridgeport, with 3,000 jobs, spun off an entire technology corridor in Fairmont and Clarksburg,” Hamilton said. “In Wheeling, there is the Cabela’s Shopping Center and basically 80 percent of the town of Weirton is on former surface mine lands, including the city hospital.”