@irontoenail - I guess you've got to look at what the better alternatives might be. It's inescapable that we have to have those materials at the moment, or people will suffer, either from loss of jobs or loss of power or whatever. Strip mining might seem like the worst way of doing business from an environmental point of view, but it also results in more materials being dug from a site than conventional mining.
On top of that, there isn't exactly much pristine wilderness left anyway. It's just as likely that strip mining could be done in areas where there isn't a thriving environment, in which case surface mining reclamation projects afterwards would provide a net improvement in wildlife.
Not to mention that mining tunnels ends up permanently damaging the ground, making it unstable, whereas strip mining can eventually be completely tidied up.