Friday, February 12, 2010

New mining policies don't stop annual Kentucky rally for 'stream saver' bill in legislature

The "I Love Mountains" rally in Frankfort, Ky., in support of a state "stream saver" bill was held for the fifth straight year yesterday, though some legislators say the bill is no longer needed after the state adopted new regulations governing strip mining and valley fills. Those at the rally maintained that further scrutiny is needed, James Bruggers reports for The Courier-Journal in Louisville. The rally was highlighted by an appearance from Grammy-winning musician and West Virginia native Kathy Mattea.

Democratic state Rep. Don Pasley, who sponsored an unsuccessful stream-saver bill more than once, withdrew his support in January after he decided the bill was no longer needed, Bruggers reports. K.A. Owens, chair of Kentuckians for the Commonwealth, said the agreement among regulators, environmentalists and the industry would "greatly reduce the size and number of valley fills," but he told Bruggers that it is "up to us to see that it is enforced." Dave Moss, vice president for the Kentucky Coal Association, told Bruggers he didn't understand why any legislators would back a stream-saver bill now.

Rally participants again called for the end of mountaintop-removal mining, and a return to civil discourse about the issues. The solution "starts with realization, the remembrance, that we are not enemies – that we are brothers and sisters in conflict," Mattea told the crowd. Democratic Sen. Kathy Stein of Lexington, the sponsor of the current bill and a native of Wise County, Virginia, told the crowd, "You have got to make your voices heard. We need your help."(Read more)

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