Sunday, December 10, 2006

Restoring The Strippins

The area in which I live was heavy into deep-mine anthracite coal. Under an apartment building I lived in was a very large mine, part of a complex which went under pretty much the entire Valley. The top vein of the mine is five hundred feet below our place, so the miners went down in an elevator. What’s holding the whole area up now? Probably a bunch of poles, some coal pillars and a lot of nothing. We’re lucky the mines, which flooded in 1959, may provide some extra strength. At least, I hope so.

There are loads of strip mines in this area, as well. Surface mines which have little overburden, as the dirt and rocks are called. Scrape that off and the coal is lying there for the taking. A strip mine can be fairly shallow, as those things go, or it can go down a hundred feet or more. One such mine a few miles away has three huge steam shovels working it, each one at least as large as a six-story building.

The beautification “fix it up” laws require that the strippins (as they are called locally) be restored to something that looks fairly nice. When the surface mining is done and all the equipment is removed, the companies then have to make the land look good.

“…and all the equipment is removed.” Uh-oh. You mean that’s why you will see a raw strip mine with one old broken-down useless piece of junk sitting there? That’s why it’s not been removed?

I hate to be cynical and say the mine owners wrote the law…


Blogger Cold Josh Vail said...

That Sounds like Harlan co. Ky is you ask me. Down there they are fillng up the hollers with the strippins.

Loretta Lynn said it best.

December 10, 2006 6:28 PM  

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