--L.A. Times A1, 'A quiet OK for peaks' removal: Environmentalists feel betrayed by Obama as mines are approved,' by Tom Hamburger and Peter Wallsten: 'With the election of President Obama, environmentalists had expected to see the end of the 'Appalachian apocalypse,' their name for exposing coal deposits by blowing the tops off whole mountains. But in recent weeks, the administration has quietly made a decision to open the way for at least two dozen more mountaintop removals. ... The issue is politically sensitive because environmentalists were an active force behind Obama's election, and the president's standing is tenuous among Democratic voters in coal states. ... Moreover, Obama needs support from local lawmakers for an energy agenda that would further regulate home-state industries, but halting mountaintop mining could eliminate jobs and put upward pressure on energy prices in a time of economic hardship. Coal advocates have solicited help from officials as high up as White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel..'
Full L.A. Times story here.