Environmental Politics and the Coal Coalition

Environmental Politics and the Coal Coalition

Environmental Politics and the Coal Coalition

Environmental Politics and the Coal Coalition

Excerpt

After the coal industry reached its nadir in 1954, coal output gradually began two decades of recovery. But to survive as an energy fuel, coal had to compete with cheap imported oil and natural gas priced by federal regulators at bargain-basement rates. To do so, the coal industry turned more and more to surface-mining techniques that required less capitalization to start and would be more efficient than deep mining if the environmental costs to society could be ignored. During the 1940's, several Appalachian coal states had enacted cursory laws for controlling strip mining. They required little more than throwing some dirt back into the exhausted pits. By 1960, strip mining's toll was mounting more quickly than its output. Public environmental consciousness was stimulated by the increasing concern of scientists for the difficult problems of acid water, land reclamation, and revegetation. Pennsylvania was the first state in which strip mining became a serious political issue and so provides a suitable case for studying the rudimentary political organization and activities of both environmental and coal interest groups.

By 1961, hundreds of miles of streams and thousands of acres of land had been disturbed or ruined by surface mining in Pennsylvania. Although surface mining had been regulated perfunctorily for sixteen years, the wastage of Pennsylvania's woodlands and clean streams was accelerating exponentially with the expansion of strip . . .

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.