GAO Report Says Surface Mines Clumped Together

By: Associated Press
By: Associated Press

Charleston, W.Va. (AP) -- A new government report highlights the growth of surface coal mining in central Appalachia, saying the divisive practice is increasingly concentrated in small corners of West Virginia and Kentucky.

The federal government accountability office report says nearly half the West Virginia acreage covered by surface mining permits in 2008 was in Boone, Logan and Mingo Counties.

In 1990, the trio of southern West Virginia counties had about one-third of the permitted surface mine acreage in the state.

Across the border in eastern Kentucky, the GAO found 44 percent of permitted acres in Pike, Perry and Knott counties, up from 28 percent in 1990.

National Mining Association spokesman Luke Popovich says the data's hardly surprising because mines are opened where the coal is found.

(Copyright 2009 by the Associated Press. All rights reserved.)

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