ENERGY: Curbing the Strippers

Few pieces of legislation have started more arguments than the various bills Congress has considered to regulate strip mining of coal—a method that accounts for more than half the 600 million tons of coal produced annually in the U.S. Environmental groups, ranchers and farmers favor such a law; they are dismayed by the landslides, soil erosion, water pollution and impairment of natural beauty that often result from the stripping away of tons of topsoil to get at rich coal seams lying just beneath the earth's surface. Energy industries argue that to achieve some form of energy self-sufficiency, the U.S. must...

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