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Coal miners are taking the tops off mountains and dumping the rubble in streams and valleys—forever changing the Appalachian Mountains. Should government regulations require environmental protection? We hear the controversy over new rules published today by the Bush Administration. Also, disagreement among military leaders on the Iraq buildup and, on Reporter's Notebook, 40 children worked up to 14 hours a day on a Reality-TV series called Kid Nation. What about child labor laws?

Reporter's Notebook 'Lord of the Flies' in 'Kid Nation'

In a 13-part reality series scheduled to begin in September, 40 children were challenged to create their own society, without adults, in a New Mexico ghost town. Aged 8 to 15, they sometimes worked as many as 14 hours a day. Was it good clean fun that made for entertaining TV or child neglect and endangerment? Kid Nation was filmed without permits from state authorities, but all the parents signed 22-page, confidential releases. The kids will be paid, but CBS says they were not really "employees," so they weren't subject to child-labor laws. Saying the issue was moot because he found out after filming was over when he found out, Attorney General Gary King has reopening his investigation after troubling safety complaints from parents. Mark Andrejevic, professor of communication studies at the University of Iowa, is author of Reality TV: The Work of Being Watched.

Mark Andrejevic, Professor of Communication Studies at the University of Iowa

Main Topic Leveling Appalachia's Ancient Mountains for Cheap Coal

For the past 20 years, coal operators have been removing the tops off peaks and ridges and plugging up streams in the Appalachian Mountains, one of the world’s oldest ranges, allowing them to mine more coal with fewer people than they can with traditional mining. Today, the Bush Administration is issuing new rules for a practice that can change the landscape of southwestern Virginia, southern West Virginia, eastern Kentucky and Tennessee, and wreak havoc on fish, wildlife—and people. The old rules said mine operators had to prove they would not damage water supplies. The new ones say it’s alright, as long as they plan to make repairs later. We consider how the drive for cheap energy and oil independence impacts the environment and public health.   

Larry Gibson, head of the Keeper of the Mountain Foundation
Bill Caylor, President of the Kentucky Coal Association
Joe Lovett, Executive Director of the Appalachian Center for the Economy and the Environment
Luke Popovich, Vice President of Communications, National Mining Association
Erik Reece, author of 'Lost Mountain'

Making News Joint Chiefs Chair Recommends Drastic Troop Reduction in Iraq

President Bush says military leaders should make the decisions about how long the buildup lasts in Iraq. But what if they disagree? Today's Los Angeles Times reports that General Peter Pace, the chair of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, has different views from both General David Petraeus--and the Bush White House.  Julian Barnes reports from the Pentagon.

Julian Barnes, Wall Street Journal (@julianbarnes)


Warren Olney

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