1. WATER POLLUTION:
Old mining states get creative as cleanup funds grow scarce
CAMBRIA COUNTY, Pa. -- A pipe is spewing toxic water into Topper Run from the old Maryland No. 1 coal mine here. The mine has been belching acid water since it was abandoned in the 1960s. No fish swim where this water flows, and iron in discharges has stained the streambed orange, while aluminum has tinted rocks white. Several dirty discharges are contributing to the degradation of the Little Conemaugh River Watershed, one of the most polluted in Pennsylvania. But efforts to stem acid mine discharges such as these remain in legal limbo, and government funding for reclaiming abandoned mines has fallen far short of what's needed. Moreover, political fights in Washington, D.C., have ensnared cleanup cash as lawmakers from the West and their counterparts from the East squabble over where money should be directed.