December 31, 1969
Gazette file photo
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers processes about 80,000 Clean Water Act permits every year, but the EPA has used its veto power only 12 times since 1972 -- and has never used it to block a coal-mining permit.
In West Virginia, mining companies are literally moving mountains to uncover valuable, low sulfur coal reserves. Mountaintop removal has become the dominant form of surface mining in the state. Coal operators are blasting off hilltops, and dumping leftover rock and dirt into nearby valleys. An untold amount of the state has been flattened, and hundreds of miles of streams have been buried. Find out more in this Special Report.