The historic coal town of Lynch is in a fight for survival. So far, all it's getting from its own state government are knives in the back.
The state Division of Mine Permits recently gave A&G Coal, based in Wise, Va., approval to strip 1,105 acres, including Looney Ridge, on Black Mountain above Lynch and its sister city, Benham.
Nally & Hamilton Enterprises, on behalf of a Massey Energy subsidiary, is seeking permission to strip another 500 acres nearby.
Fortunately, the A&G permit is among 21 in Kentucky put on hold by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency for further study of the potential effects on water.
Residents need only drive across the state line to preview the disturbance and destruction. A&G has stripped the Virginia side of Black Mountain and was responsible for pushing a boulder onto a home 649 feet below in Inman, Va., killing a child while he slept in 2004. The Greenbrier resort's new owner has since bought A&G Coal.
The Lynch City Council, already appealing the state's refusal to declare an area around Benham and Lynch unsuitable for mining, will probably keep fighting.
The appeals will eventually reach Energy and Environment Secretary Leonard K. Peters. He should exercise his legal authority — and duty — to protect irreplaceable resources such as Looney Creek and the mountain views from Benham and Lynch.
To read the complete editorial, visit www.kentucky.com.