[Virginia Citizens for Better Reclamation meeting 3]

A meeting about efforts at environmental reclamation in mining country in Southwestern Virginia.

00:15Copy video clip URL Unidentifiable unrelated footage from other source. 

00:37Copy video clip URL A man discusses warrants, a necessity for entering properties for inspection. Discussion of the procedure for inspectors and the response if a property owner resists. The citizen has a right to know all findings of a report, which looks for health and safety of land impacted by mining operations. Discussion of fines and other penalties/remedies for negative findings. 

04:40Copy video clip URL Roles of state and federal government in enforcing this safety program. Imminent threats are enforced by federal agencies, while most other remedies are enforced by state agencies. 

06:12Copy video clip URL Inspectors have been threatened with violence. Attempts to avoid violence while obtaining soil samples and photographs. 

06:48Copy video clip URL Initial visits intended to identify possibility of a violation, in which case the inspector will take over. 

07:50Copy video clip URL Worries about the coal mining industry’s interference in local politics and possible pressure inflected on politicians. Assurance of complete inspections every six months. 

09:35Copy video clip URL Virginia’s actions in relation to the enforcement of the standards of the program. Discussion of Virginia’s Division of Mined Land Reclamation and recent legislation to support the testing and clean-up of mining-affected property. 

12:40Copy video clip URL Discussion of state versus federal jurisidctions: “The one thing Virginia can’t do is use the mechanism of the federal law, the federal regulation, to enforce during the initial program. They have the power to shut a man down through a cessation order whereas Virginia don’t. We have to use the mechanisms by law through injunctions, special orders, and non-compliances.”

13:53Copy video clip URL Discussion of abandoned lands. 

14:25Copy video clip URL Lack of information regarding the small operator’s exemptions. 

15:16Copy video clip URL Injunctions sought on illegal strip mining operations. 

16:30Copy video clip URL The procedure for issuing a cessation order when there is imminent environmental danger. Other questions regarding procedures for complaints or possible violations and the relationship between state and federal authorities. 

20:15Copy video clip URL Limited resources for the Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement, including a small number of inspectors covering the entire country. Plan for the training and hiring of another group of inspectors. Other OSM employees include engineers and attorneys. Plan for growing to 800 employees once the organization is fully staffed, spread among five regional offices.

24:24Copy video clip URL If a mine owner obeys all rules and guidelines, nothin can be done to prevent them from opening additional mines. Process for declaring land “unsuitable for mining” – a “long and tedious procedure” but one that is available to citizens. 

28:52Copy video clip URL Citizen complaints must be submitted in writing, which are then evaluated by an inspector. 

 

 

 

 

 

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