Appalachian Town Looks to Flatten MountainWell, good for them. If, in removing one of the 850,000 mountains around here, the citizens of Pikeville rearrange the landscape to make room for growth and earn a few bucks off the natural resources that are in abundance around them, more power to the people there.
By Roger Alford, Associated Press Writer
PIKEVILLE, Ky. (AP) -- The towering mountains that frame this Appalachian town have been a hindrance to growth, forcing homes and businesses to crowd together side by side on precious little flat land.
That could change under a plan by Pikeville leaders who recruited a coal company to flatten two mountaintops to make room for the town of about 6,300 to expand.
Ordinarily, coal companies are required under federal law to restore mountains to the original contour, said Tom FitzGerald, head of Kentucky Resources Council. But an exception in the law allows mining companies to leave the land flat when that better serves post-mining purposes. (link)
What is going to happen, though, when word spreads to Southwest Virginia and all those planners who have invested their reputations in hiking trails, bike paths, and such silly notions, are told that people around here can actually make money the old-fashioned way. They can mine for it.
This could be a transformative event. We'll be keeping an eye on this story.