PUBLICATIONS RELATED 1938 Effects of Surface Mining on Fish and Wildlife in Appalachia

Pine Mountain Settlement School
Series 27: Publications Related
US Dept. of the Interior

EFFECTS OF SURFACE MINING ON FISH AND WILDLIFE IN APPALACHIA


TAGS: surface mining; strip mining; fish; wildlife; Appalachia; Department of the Interior; Joseph A Boccardy; Williard M. Spaulding, Jr.; 1968; Bureau of Sport Fisheries and Wildlife; coal; water; environmental education; stream pollution; water quality; highwalls; original contour


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The following publication, Effects of Surface Mining on Fish and Wildlife in Appalachia, created by the Department of the Interior in 1968, is a precursor to the severe environmental assault the Appalachian region would later endure. The late 1960s were marked by an increase in a new coal mining technique referred to as surface mining or later, “strip mining.” In 1968 there were few laws in place to protect the environment from the practice.

The Department of the Interior began to give the new mining practices a wary eye. This publication is the result of their concern and that of the public with the new mining practices and with the growing problem of mining area restoration. The authors of this study, Joseph A Boccardy, and Williard M. Spaulding, Jr. explain in the forward to the publication, that the Appalachian Regional Development Act of 1965 (approved March 1965), prompted their study. The 1965 Act contains a section on the rehabilitation of areas damaged by mining practice (Section #205) that specifically states that the Secretary of the Interior is directed to “make a national study of strip and surface mining operations and their effects.” This is one of those studies.

To put these early conservation initiatives in perspective, this small publication contains a brief “History of Surface Mining in Appalachia” (pre-1968) and a useful table of the “Extent and Nature of Disturbed Areas” in 1968. While the findings focus on the “Effects of Strip and Surface Mining on Fish and Wildlife, the study goes on to detail the existing mining conditions found in the Appalachian states of Alabama, Kentucky, Maryland, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Virginia, and West Virginia.

This early report paints an optimistic picture that all too soon disintegrated in the succeeding years. By 1977 the Federal government was compelled to pass SMCRA, the Surface Mining Control and Reclamation Act ( August 3, 1977). The Act was established to

“… provide for the cooperation between the Secretary of the Interior and the States with respect to the regulation of surface coal mining operations, and the acquisition and reclamation of abandoned mines, and for other purposes.” 

The recommendations of this small study, “The Effects of Surface Mining on Fish and Wildlife in Appalachia, made the following four recommendations:

1. All Strip mining should be controlled by adequate legislation which provides for wise use of all natural resources

2. All reclamation should be preplanned to ensure the primary objective of water quality control

3. Prior to the extractive process, fish and wildlife must be fully considered and measures for their protection and enhancement included as an integral part of reclamation plans

4. Other natural resources, particularly water, should be protected from deleterious effects attributable to the mineral extractive process

5. All mined lands should be restored to a condition which will support their best use, and considering the natural beauty of the area

Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement (OSMRE).
EFFECTS OF SURFACE MINING ON FISH AND WILDLIFE IN APPALACHIA

Also See:

BIBLIOGRAPHY Environmental Education

ENVIRONMENTAL EDUCATION

ENVIRONMENTAL EDUCATION at PMSS Today

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