Kudos to Times-Tribune staff writer Brendan Gibbons for his story today about the impact of mine drainage in Northeast Pennsylvania. He points out that the discharge of millions of gallons of drainage from an abandoned mine in Colorado has inspired the governor to declare a state of emergency, but the same water contamination goes largely unnoticed here.

In yet another thorny branch of the coal barons’ dirty legacy, mine drainage is among the most serious threats to water quality decades after the anthracite industry left us for dead. Brendan lives and breathes his beat, and anyone concerned about the state of the environment within a 500-mile radius of wherever he sits typing should read everything he writes.

Our environment is susceptible to industrial exploitation and ruination in ways not seen since the coal barons raided the region and left us the mess. I am proud to call Brendan Gibbons a colleague, and I sleep easier knowing he’s the environmental watchdog this region needs.