Amy Joi O’Donoghue – Deseret News
Gary Kalpakoff has a great view from his front porch on 100 South in this little town full of “Whoa” signs, not just stop signs.
Life moves at a different pace in this community of 127 residents, where the post office is in the back of Orval Palmer’s home and the town hall occupies the old church.
Off in the distance to the south, if one knows what to look for, a visitor can see a brownish-red mount of dirt, barren of vegetation against land with grass or trees.
The obscure transformation in the landscape scares Kalpakoff, leaving him anxious about what he might see marching close to his property, a view from the front porch of the turning wheels of coal truck, after coal truck, interrupting his look at unspoiled pastureland.
“I personally don’t want to live next to a strip mine,” he said.
Kalpakoff is a unique voice in the so-called war on coal. He’s a resident in a town that has been a friendly partner with Alton Coal Development, which is seeking to expand its mining activities on both federal and private property.
That mound of dirt he can see in the distance is actually part of the reclamation activities taking place at Alton’s current mine site as operators cover and vegetate the land they have already mined. The proposed expansion would bring the mine north toward his property line — activity he doesn’t want to watch from his back yard.
Kalpakoff knows the relationship between the town and the mine is a good one. (…)