Future Grows More Hazy For Mountaintop Mining

From the Washington Post article, about two weeks ago, the Environmental Protection Agency seemed poised to crack down on the "mountaintop" coal mines that are common in this region, which industry officials say would threaten thousands of jobs. The EPA said it had "significant concerns" about the mines -- in which peaks are legally blasted off to get at coal seams inside -- because neighboring streams are buried under displaced rock.

But later that day, the EPA suddenly seemed to play down its own worries, saying it thought the bulk of the projects would "not raise environmental concerns."

The episode has been seen as an early unsteady attempt by a White House with environmental ambitions to confront one of its most vexing problems: polluting, carbon-heavy, economically vital coal.

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