Navigation Links
'Public ecology' could help resolve mountaintop mining issues
Date:12/10/2012

Mountaintop mining is the practice of using huge machines to remove layers of soil and rock to reach thin seams of coal.

It is an efficient way to reach the high-thermal value, low-impurity coal in the central Appalachian range, which accounts for one-fifth of the nation's coal, and it is a resource for American energy independence.

But it has disadvantages mountaintops are deposited into valleys, trees and habitats are destroyed, chemical drainage may pollute streams, and many find it ugly.

Taking conflicts into account such as the benefits of steady jobs and tax revenue versus declining environments and resources are essential to a deliberative discussion about mountaintop mining, according to John Craynon, project director of the Appalachian Research Initiative for Environmental Science with the Virginia Center for Coal and Energy Research at Virginia Tech.

"Take advantage of the duality of stakeholders, such as a member of a mining-impacted community who is an employee of a mining operation," Craynon said. "The perspective gained via one role might inform decisions made in another."

Virginia Tech researchers writing for an upcoming issue of Resources Policy say federal and state government and mining industry efforts to increase the community's voice in decision- making have not succeeded in incorporating stakeholders' values and concerns.

A public ecology approach can give the stakeholders including members of the coal mining industry, federal and state agencies and courts, labor unions, environmental and community advocacy groups, land holding companies, private citizens, and researchers a new focus, according to co-authors Craynon; Emily Sarver, an assistant professor in the College of Engineering's Department of Mining and Minerals Engineering; and David P. Robertson, associate director of the College of Natural Resources and Environment's Center for Leadership in Global Sustainability in Virginia Tech's National Capital Region.

"To put such new ideas into practice, there is need for more than just research. We have to teach the next generation of engineers, scientists, and policy makers, and reach out to the stakeholders in this debate," Sarver said.

Public ecology is the nexus of science, engineering, public policy and interest, citizen views and values, market forces, and environmental protection statutes and regulations. Through open discussion, it ensures ecological systems continue to function while commerce continues.

The researchers say issues of environment and economy are valued differently based on proximity. Problems arise because environmental and social impacts of mining are largely local, but decision-making tends to be driven by state, federal, or even global energy goals and regulations.

Defining the public is important, the researchers say.

"The public includes the CEO and the machine operator, both of whom grew up locally and fished the streams and now support their families by working for the mining company," Craynon said. "People with complex motivations have the best chance of succeeding in understanding and accommodating stakeholders' significant differences in values and interests."

The researchers' recommendations for action depend upon broad participation and transparency. But they are optimistic that attempts by some groups including the U.S. coal industry to increase public participation may signify a turn for the better.

"The recent decision by Patriot Coal to stop mountaintop mining may exemplify a shift in industry response," Robertson said.

But questions remain, the largest being whether interested stakeholders are willing to participate in deliberative processes, many of which require compromise in order to find a common and higher ground.

The U.S. may also need to fundamentally restructure regulatory programs in order to bring all the interested parties to the table with a meaningful role. Craynon, Sarver, and Robertson point to the Chesapeake Bay clean up as a model program where public ecology and broad participation has overcome significant controversy and overlapping regulatory programs.

"The resolution of complex issues such as mountaintop mining may require radical boldness to break through years of distrust and allow for the adoption of a more public ecology," the article concludes. "Through the cooperation of all parties, mountaintop coal mining may be modified so that better social, environmental and economic goals can be achieved and the interests of all affected parties can be adequately considered."


'/>"/>

Contact: Lynn Davis
davisl@vt.edu
540-231-6157
Virginia Tech
Source:Eurekalert

Related medicine news :

1. U.S. Spends Too Little on Public Health Initiatives: Report
2. Physicians call for improvements to countrys public health system to protect US residents
3. Publication Bias Casts Doubt on Value of Antidepressants for Autism
4. Comprehensive report documents impact of urologic diseases on American public
5. Surgeon General receives 2012 Distinguished Public Service Award from internal medicine physicians
6. The Tennessee Car Accident Lawyers at Michael D. Ponce & Associates Alert Public of CDC Survey Revealing Majority of High School Seniors Admitting to Texting Behind Wheel
7. As New Premature Ejaculation Drugs Get Closer To The Public Market, LastLonger2Night.com Announces A Drug-Free Solution
8. Higher levels of public reimbursement positively influence national birth rates and reduce unmet needs in subfertile populations
9. Oxford University Press launches Evolution, Medicine, and Public Health
10. $53 million grant will help health researchers develop new therapies -- with the publics help
11. Tobacco use more prevalent among African-American adolescents living in public housing communities
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:4/30/2016)... , ... April 30, 2016 , ... Orlando-based Maximized Living ... they go for gold in Rio. Under the care of Maximized Living doctors ... , In an unprecedented showing, Maximized Living is sending the largest contingent of elite ...
(Date:4/29/2016)... ... April 29, 2016 , ... Since launching its annual volunteer ... serving the footwear industry, has broken all previous participation records in its first ... 23 states during the months of April and May, the 2016 Footwear Cares ...
(Date:4/29/2016)... (PRWEB) , ... April 29, 2016 , ... On Tuesday, ... hospitals across the Southeast, celebrated the signature of Gov. Nathan Deal on SB 258, ... Geoff Duncan (R - Cumming), offers a 70% tax credit to individuals and corporations ...
(Date:4/29/2016)... ... April 29, 2016 , ... Conditions were ideal for Global Lyme Alliance’s (GLA) ... with sunny skies, a light breeze and temperatures in the 60s. Over 400 runners, ... Run and Walk and 1-mile walk were held to increase awareness about Lyme ...
(Date:4/29/2016)... , ... April 29, 2016 , ... ... that student team BioCellection won the $30,000 Perlman Grand Prize of the 2016 ... Gloeckner Undergraduate Award, the Michelson People’s Choice Award, and the Committee Award for ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:4/28/2016)...   Acsis , a leading provider of supply ... research and advisory firm IDC has named it a ... Pharmaceutical Track and Trace Software 2016 Vendor Assessment (doc ... of the capabilities and business strategies of 10 vendors ... Logo - http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20160427/360791LOGO ...
(Date:4/27/2016)... 27, 2016  Hologic, Inc. (Nasdaq: ... for the fiscal second quarter ended March 26, ... $0.24 increased 41.2%, and non-GAAP diluted EPS of ... 5.8% on a reported basis, and 6.3% on ... posted another good quarter, highlighted by 14.6% growth ...
(Date:4/27/2016)... Italy , April 27, 2016 ... linear accelerator (MR-linac) platform will be the focal point ... meeting of the European Society for Radiotherapy & Oncology, ... Elekta,s MR-linac integrates a state-of-the-art radiotherapy system and a ... physician to clearly see the patient,s anatomy in real ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: