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Hundreds Protest Mountaintop Removal Mining at White House

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By Matt Laslo

Hundreds of people protested at the White House gates today demanding that the Obama Administration ban the practice of mountaintop removal mining.

All told approximately one hundred people are arrested.

The protesters say mountaintop removal mining is causing further blight in Appalachia.

The practice involves clearing forests and blowing up the tops of mountains, which critics say causes harmful toxins to flow down stream.

Kari Fulton, of D.C.'s Environmental Justice and Climate Change Initiative, says the D.C. protest is significant because the region supports mining in Appalachia.

"I think it definitely impacts this region because of where that power goes to, and beyond that it's about public health. So people who live in the front lines of coal - whether it's a power plant or coal mining - are impacted by that," Fulton said.

Mining companies defend mountain top removal for its efficiency.

The Obama Administration has made it more difficult to get permits for mountaintop removal mining, but critics say they need to go further with an all out ban.

Maryland Democratic Senator Ben Cardin is sponsor of a bill end the controversial mining practice all together.

But with the legislative session nearing its end it may be difficult to get the bill on the legislative calender this session.

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