Since Wise called for a permit moratorium, three major events concerning mountaintop removal have occurred:
A task force appointed by Gov. Cecil Underwood issued a report calling for reforms in state laws and regulations governing mountaintop removal. The governor has not proposed legislation to follow up on any of the task force suggestions.
The U.S. Office of Surface Mining issued a report calling for even more broad-ranging improvements in mountaintop removal legislation. But the report has not been finalized, and no changes in policy have been made based on its recommendations.
Environmentalists filed a lawsuit to try to curb mountaintop removal mining. Part of the lawsuit has been settled, but the coal industry is fighting that settlement, which would require the more extensive environmental reviews.
During an anti-mountaintop removal rally Jan. 30, environmental group lobbyist Norm Steenstra challenged Wise to take a stand on mountaintop removal if he runs for governor in 2000.
Steenstra called on Wise to "take the lead and join us in saying ëWe're going to stop mountaintop removal.'"
Wise said Friday he has no plans to work toward a ban on mountaintop removal.
"I don't support doing away with mountaintop removal entirely," Wise said.
"I do think it needs to be properly regulated."