The Palm Beach Post from West Palm Beach, Florida on December 12, 1976 · Page 35
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The Palm Beach Post from West Palm Beach, Florida · Page 35

West Palm Beach, Florida
Issue Date:
Sunday, December 12, 1976
Page 35
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Palm Beach Post-Times, Sunday, December 12, 1976 A35 Tennessee Clamping Down on Strip-Mining EC" iuiw.hp,'immwi tmmnuui.imtmmmmmmjm$J'' iiiijiuwwimmi.wii,iiiii This is a typical view of strip-mined land that m infers say will be reclaimed:: The major complaint of con-: servationists is how much of the rubble can be reclaimed for usable land. ''S-',. J-3,P Jtii Shacter, a chemical engineer employed by Union Carbide Nuclear Co., Oak Ridge. As chairman of the energy education and communications committee of the American Society of Chemical Engineers, Shacter recently complained that neither President Ford nor President-elect Jimmy Carter had dealt adequately with the energy crisis during the summer campaign. He said he is not familiar with AMAX's operation and cannot comment on it specifically. But, emphasizing that he was speaking only as on individual, he said, "In broad terms, if we're looking for the perfectly clean, absolutely safe energy source that has absolutely no . . . effect on the environment, whatsoever, there is no such energy source." Much of the cross-examination by attorneys representing the state and five environmental groups at the Water Quality Control Board hearing dealt with the effect of the AMAX operation on water wells, springs and aquatic life including micro-organisms. AMAX conceded its mining would interrupt the flow of at least one stream. But, the company's witnesses said, any streams would be reconstructed and the land would be reclaimed. Many of the streams in the area are narrow and shallow and are wet only in rainy weather. Ollie Smith, a Nashville geological consultant to the company, said he found only five springs in the 10,000 acres which AMAX plans to mine during its first nine years. There are no public water supply systems which would be affected, he said. But Smith and Dr. Ron Gilbert, another consultant, conceded the water table could be lowered as much as 100 feet by the mining. If necessary, the company says, it will deepen wells. NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) An environmental battle over the biggest coal strip-mining operation ever proposed for Tennessee spotlights a national dilemma in the search for new energy sources. AMAX Coal Co., Indianapolis, Ind., has been denied a water quality permit by the state as the first step in its plan to strip the coal from an acre-a-day of southeast Tennessee for the next 20 years. AMAX is appealing to the state Water Quality Control Board, since the water quality permit is the first step to a surface mining permit under state law. Despite detailed plans by AMAX to reconstruct several small streams and reclaim the land as it goes, the state contends the environmental damage to the water would make the proposal impossible. Thirteen months earlier, when the Tennessee Valley Authority (TV A) was seeking a license to operate the world's largest nuclear power plant near Hartsville, Tenn., several witnesses said TVA had not explored fully the potential of coal-fired steam plants, which now generate most of the agency's power for seven southeastern states. TVA subsequently lost a battle with the Environmental Protection Agency and was forced to install $250 million worth of equipment to remove sulfur dioxide from the stacks of its coal-fired plants. It contends nuclear power is safe, cheaper and cleaner. At that time, Dr. Charles Roos, a Vanderbilt University physics professor, claimed TVA was manipulating its figures to show that nuclear power cost less than coal. TVA, incidentally, says AMAX has not discussed selling the coal it hopes to mine in southeast Tennessee to that agency, although an AMAX spokesman said some of the coal would be for the electric power industry. 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