SC bill blasts mountaintop coal removal

COLUMBIA -- Out-of-state coal miners and environmentalists teamed up in the Capitol Thursday to push a bill that would bar South Carolina's coal-fired generating units from using coal that was obtained by mountaintop removal in Appalachia.


The bill, H. 3955, was introduced by Rep. Carl Gullick, R-Lake Wylie, and has drawn a handful of co-sponsors, including Rep. Kenneth Hodges, D-Green Pond.

Mountaintop removal is described by the environmental group, Appalachian Voices, as "clear cutting native hardwood forests, using dynamite to blast away as much as 800-1000 feet of mountaintop, and then dumping the waste into nearby valleys, often burying streams."

The above-ground mining procedure has been in use, in part, because it is less costly and more efficient.

Carl Shoupe, a former underground miner from Kentucky who was in Columbia to draw attention to Gullick's bill, said mountaintop-removal mining has caused job losses among underground miners in his home state.

"We're trying to put some pressure on," he said. "So we put the coal mining back underground where it's supposed to be."

Sarita Chourey can be reached at (803) 727-4257 or



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