By federal law, coal companies have to restore the land they used back to an as-good-or-better condition than it was in when they started mining. However, that is in terms of commercial value, not ecological value. Coal mining can wreak havoc on a landscape, and then turn that ravaged landscape into something like big box stores or residential housing. But thanks to the efforts of one bee enthusiast by the name of Tammy Horn, there are wide swaths of former coal strip mines that are returning to ecologically diverse forest land, bolstering hope for not only a once-again thriving local ecosystem but also a stronger local economy.
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