Conservation: A legacy of Torment

"We must end the reckless pillaging of our land, the spoiling of our streams, and the destruction of our fish and wild life. We must pass this bill." So spoke West Virginia's Governor Hulett C. Smith earlier this year in urging his legislature to pass the toughest state law in the nation controlling strip mining for coal.

Strip mining is a simple, productive and inexpensive method of mining coal, both hard and soft; it accounts for one-third of the nation's total 500 million ton annual output. Big power shovels rip off the topsoil, then bite into the underlying seams to depths...

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