Some of the largest open surface coal mines in the world are 10 miles from L.J. Turner's Wyoming ranch. He says the impact of coal mining can be measured by the damage to local creeks and aquifers, and the warmer winters.
The Pacific Northwest is scattered with thousands of abandoned mines. Even though most mines have been abandoned for 50 years, hard metals are still leaching out from some sites.
China’s stranglehold on the world’s rare earth mineral supply has re-ignited interest in Idaho. Some of the state’s rare earth minerals run through environmentally sensitive lands.