The Obama administration has announced steps to reduce the environmental destruction caused in six US states by mountaintop coal mining.
The government will seek to eliminate the expedited reviews that have made it easier for mining companies to blast off Appalachian mountaintops, writes Associated Press.
The agreement among federal agencies includes changes to tighten federal oversight and environmental screening of mountaintop coal mining in Kentucky, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Virginia and West Virginia.
The Interior Department, the Environmental Protection Agency and the Army Corps of Engineers will ensure that communities in coal-mining regions have clean streams and drinking water, said head of the White House Council on Environmental Quality Nancy Sutley.
Mountaintop mines in the states where the practice is most used — West Virginia, Virginia, Kentucky and Tennessee — produce nearly 130 million tons of coal each year.