Mountaintop removal mining concerns Kentucky residents, according to survey

The Lexington Herald-LeaderSeptember 30, 2009 

Mountaintop removal coal mining is moving up on the list of what Kentuckians identify as an environmental problem in the state, according to a new survey.

But global climate change, despite the media attention it gets, still is far down on the list.

And, although Kentuckians are more aware of environmental problems, they are increasingly unwilling to pay more for goods and services that are "green."

Those are the highlights of The 2009 Survey of Kentuckians' Environmental Knowledge, Attitudes and Behaviors. The survey is conducted by the Kentucky Environmental Education Council, a state agency; and the University of Kentucky Survey Research Center.

The education council is required to "monitor and report periodically on environmental literacy in Kentucky." The survey, which the council calls a snapshot, previously was conducted in 1999 and 2004.

On the first two surveys so few people mentioned mountaintop removal that it did not rank among the top concerns. This year, however, it came in third, with 14 percent saying it was the most important environmental problem facing the state.

Mountain Justice organizer Dave Cooper of Lexington, who works to end the mining practice, said the survey is good news. In his work, he said, he has found many people who don't know that the electricity they use is produced by mining and burning coal.

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