Government to toughen coal mining standards

June 10, 2009 07:00 PM

WASHINGTON - The Obama administration said Thursday that it would toughen standards for mountaintop-removal coal mining but would not end the practice as some environmental groups had hoped.

Officials from four agencies said they had agreed to order a more rigorous legal and environmental review of pending and future applications for mountaintop mining in Appalachia. The technique involves blasting the tops off mountains and dumping the rubble into valleys and streams. The practice has buried hundreds of miles of streams and has polluted water throughout the region.

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