Thursday, March 29, 2007

Coal mining in PA

I work as a landscape photographer in Susquehanna County, Pennsylvania to monitor the changes in landscape over time. Last summer I took over six hundred pictures and after analyzing them, found that there was heavy tree clearing on many of the hillsides and mountain tops. This area does not, as far as I know, have heavy mining activity, but it makes me wonder if the excavations and hilltop removal will spread into the Northeast portion of the state and also if there are old mining tunnels in the county. How would I go about looking into this? These lectures on Pennsylvania coal mining though, might help me identify some key conservation target areas and watch for the spread of mining into the communities. I think it is useful to realize that the academia culture can make connections to other cultural areas (i.e. environment, historical, community, photography, etc.) and by watching for these linkages we can find out how they impact the work we do or the livelihood of others or even our own views we hold. Lately, these connections have been much more apparent, probably because of the links we make in class. Just an interesting observation.


Kate Bentsen said...

On the somewhat related note of mountaintop removal, an opinion article was published in the New York Times yesterday about the environmental degradation resulting from mountaintop mining, and actions being taken to stop the problem. The article stated that even though the federal government has historically avoided regulation of removal activities, citizens and the court may act otherwise. Recently, a case brought to the Federal District Court by Earthjustice and the Appalachian Center for the Economy and the Environment effectively stopped four mountaintop removal projects as the Army Corps of Engineers "had failed to demonstrate that the damage would not be irreversible." This makes me wonder that if the Army Corps of Engineers had included plans for "restoration", whether the projects would have been stopped or not. With mountaintop removal, I don't know how effectively the natural ecosystem can be stored; degradation would ensue regardless. It's too bad the fate of the environment is most often subject to the whims of politics.

The (short) editorial can be accessed through the New York Times website (apparently I cannot post the URL here).

Kate Bentsen said...

edit: typo

Second to last sentence should read "...the natural ecosystem can be restored..."