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:6/26/2016)... ... June 26, 2016 , ... On June 10-11, 2016, A Forever Recovery, ... Festival and World’s Longest Breakfast Table in Battle Creek, MI, where the rehabilitation facility ... home to some of the world’s leading providers of cereal and other breakfast foods. ...
(Date:6/26/2016)... Lake Orion, Clarkston, Michigan (PRWEB) , ... June ... ... direction with respect to fertility once they have been diagnosed with endometriosis. These ... tolerable intercourse but they also require a comprehensive approach that can help for ...
(Date:6/25/2016)... ... June 25, 2016 , ... "With 30 hand-drawn hand gesture ... said Christina Austin - CEO of Pixel Film Studios. , ProHand Cartoon’s package ... Final Cut Pro X . Simply select a ProHand generator and drag it ...
(Date:6/25/2016)... (PRWEB) , ... June 25, 2016 , ... On Friday, ... presented a Bronze Wellness at Work award to iHire in recognition of their exemplary ... part of the 7th annual Maryland Workplace Health & Wellness Symposium at the BWI ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... ... June 24, 2016 , ... June 19, 2016 is World Sickle ... chronic pain and the benefits of holistic treatments, Serenity Recovery Center of ... Sickle Cell Disease. , Sickle Cell Disease (SCD) is a disorder of the red ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:6/24/2016)... 24, 2016  Global Blood Therapeutics, Inc. (GBT) (NASDAQ: ... novel therapeutics for the treatment of grievous blood-based ... closing of its previously announced underwritten public offering ... public offering price of $18.75 per share. All ... by GBT. GBT estimates net proceeds from the ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... , June 24, 2016 ... has announced the addition of the " Global ... This report ... provides an updated review, including its applications in various ... total market, which includes three main industries: pharmaceutical and ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... -- The Academy of Managed Care Pharmacy (AMCP) today ... allow biopharmaceutical companies to more easily share health care ... coverage decisions, a move that addresses the growing need ... The recommendations address restrictions in the sharing of product ... a prohibition that hinders decision makers from accessing HCEI ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: