FRANKFORT, Ky. -- Hundreds of citizen activists, Appalachian residents and environmentalists rallied at the Kentucky Capitol to call for an end to mountaintop blasting and destructive surface mining practices.

Organizers say more than 1,200 people lined the front steps of the Capitol building Tuesday and later marched to the nearby governor's mansion. The "I Love Mountains Day" rally has become an annual event with help from environmental groups.

Speakers called on Kentucky lawmakers to put an end to a surface mining practice known as mountaintop removal or MTR, which uses blasting to scrape away layers of vegetation and earth to reach coal seams. They urged the House to pass a bill aimed at protecting waterways affected by surface mining.

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