Davis College and NRCCE scientists’ new tool can remedy environmental impacts of mountaintop mining and other human activities

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January 24, 2011 by Trina Wafle, NRCCE

Morgantown, W.Va. — Todd Petty, an associate professor of wildlife and fisheries resources in West Virginia University’s Davis College of Agriculture, Natural Resources and Design, is keenly aware of what some might see as competing concerns.

“Coal mining is incredibly important to West Virginia’s economy, and the health of the state’s river systems is equally important to the well-being of its citizens. The intensity of the debate over the Spruce #1 Mine permit has shown us just how important these things are,” Petty said. In his view, this combination of economic and environmental priorities makes it “absolutely necessary that we succeed in facilitating the mine permitting process while ensuring benefits to watershed health through strategic restoration activities.”

Petty and colleagues have received more than $600,000 to help refine that process for the benefit of both the economy and the environment.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has provided $300,000 to support Cumulative Impact Assessments in the region where mountain-top mining is practiced.

Petty’s collaborators on the project include Michael P. Strager, an assistant professor of resource economics in WVU’s Davis College, and Paul F. Ziemkiewicz, director of the Water Research Institute in the National Research Center for Coal and Energy at WVU.

Ziemkiewicz pointed out that this alternative futures model allows agencies and companies to evaluate the cumulative effects of mining on stream chemistry.

See the full story first reported by David Walsh for WVUToday.


CONTACT: Paul Ziemkiewicz, (304) 293-6958

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