Coal companies are supposed to have post-mining development plans in hand when they seek permits to flatten crests. They do not.
And there is no good definition of "approximate original contour" to determine when a mountaintop removal mine is failing to restore the land to something approaching nature's creation.
And regulators haven't figured out, as they are supposed to, the cumulative impact of burying hundreds of miles of West Virginia streams under mine "spoil."
A settlement reached in a lawsuit requires a two-year study that may answer that question, but coal companies are fighting it.
Legislative proposals are nibbling around the edges. Some good bills have been introduced that would limit blasting and help citizens receive compensation from coal companies for damage to their homes.
But the proposals' focus on compensation, as noted by Cindy Rank, mining chairman of the West Virginia Highlands Conservancy, is disappointing.
"It's more important to figure out how not to do that damage in the first place," Rank said.
Rather than help the Legislature figure that out, Underwood apparently wants to appoint another group to talk, talk, talk.
Perhaps the idea is to delay until the current attention on mountaintop removal mining dies down.
If so, Underwood and his mining allies may be in for a long wait. Mountaineers aren't about to forget the mountains.