Last month, an explosion at the Upper Big Branch Mine in West Virginia resulted in the worst mining disaster in four decades. The mine is owned by Massey Energy. This company is notorious not only for committing numerous and flagrant safety violations in their mining operations, but also for pursuing mountaintop removal mining throughout Appalachia. The mining disaster has raised new awareness about the true costs of "cheap" coal. Since the last time we discussed this subject on Locus Focus, the Obama administration has taken some steps to regulate mountaintop removal mining, but how effective will these new regulations be?