Mountaintop Removal

By | January 15, 2008

Mountaintop removal is an extremely destructive strip mining technique used in the Appalachia by coal industry. This method is devastating the pristine landscapes of the Appalachia. It is also destroying several communities that call this area home.

“Not since the glaciers pushed toward these ridgelines a million years ago have the Appalachian Mountains been as threatened as they are today.” Link.

“Today, mountaintop removal is booming again, and the practice of dumping mining debris into streambeds is explicitly protected, thanks to a small wording change to federal environmental regulations.” Link. Link.

“The waste rock—the remains of the mountains—is piled into neighboring hollows in towering earthen dams called valley fills. The largest fills can approach 800 feet in height and swallow more than a mile of streambed.” Link.

I’d like to hear from you about your opinion on this issue.

16 thoughts on “Mountaintop Removal

  1. Laura

    I don’t understand how the people that are in the “Mountaintop Removal” industry can get away with taking the tops off of mountains in order to find coal if it is obviously devastating the surrounding environment in a bad way, not to mention the mountain itself. Something should be done.

  2. kitty

    What I don’t understand is how these people can get away with romoving the tops of these moutains with all of the environmentalists fighting it. Also these people have lost their communities and homes and they are still getting away with it.

  3. rkerr

    I think what we are doing with minning is important for our well being, but I believe we can find a more enviromental and people friendly way to go about it. I am sure there is, but like most enviromental friendly stuff, it is alot more expensive and therefore not cost friendly.

  4. Ryan

    I saw a documentary about mountain top removal, and along with the problems it causes to the environment (by nearly destroy the wildlife’s habit) many people’s lives have been severely affected. One lady remarked stated that the quality of water in the area had gone down, but what really made her distraught was the scenery that she grew up with as a child is now all gone. It’s funny the tactics that these companies use. If you drive up in the mountains, you won’t really notice a problem because they purposefully perform “Mountaintop Removal” away from the roads as to draw less attention.

  5. Delynn

    Its sad that many American industries, including the coal industry, put profit and amount of effort above everything else. Competition drives the industry not environmental demands. Hopefully environmental concerns will have a stronger voice soon because these mountains can’t be rebuilt. Also, it is ruining surrounding communities, Not only environmentalist should be speaking out but the small local communities. They have the most at stake.

  6. Jonathan

    It seems as if the only benefit of these mines (besides the economic aspects) would be that the low sulfur coal is more accessible (which cuts down on acid rain). If the government wanted to alleviate the problems that these mines pose, it would be to enforce the “restore the land to its original contour” policy and continue to keep a close eye on where the soil is going. It would probably be hard to tell a West Virginian with a “Friends of Coal” bumper sticker to stop doing it all together.

  7. Kristen

    It really surprises me that the companies are doing this. Not only is mountaintop removal terrible for the environment, it is also ruining a beautiful and well-known mountain range that generates much-needed money in Appalachia through the tourism/ hiking industry. Another issue these companies need to think about is that both people and amimals live in and near these areas, and mountaintop removal may destroy their homes.

  8. ccstout

    I believe that in order to find any natural resource such as coal mining has to be involved. I do feel that even if mountaintop removal was the only way, I am sure that the dirt could be transported to a place where it is needed. Freeport Bahamas is doing the same thing currently only with drudging the port. However, what they are doing seems smart and economical, with all the rock that is taken out of the port to allow deeper access, the rock is transplanted to places where roads are being built. The drudging of the port was done close to free as long as the rock that was taken could be put to better use.

  9. Kathryn

    “Rather than proposing broad changes or drafting new legislation, administration officials (Bush) often have taken existing regulations and made subtle tweaks that carry large consequences.” That’s what one of the links said in that article. It makes me so mad to think we have such ignorant people that run this country. Mountaintop removal is terrible on so many levels that it really needs to be dealt with more seriously. That goes for all environmental problems. I’m sick of our government, especially the current president, ignoring the seriousness of environmental problems. Although coal is an important resource, I definitely think they should be a lot smarter about the situation. If they absolutely HAVE to do mountain top removal, then they need to be more mindful of the surrounding habitat and the people. Serious federal regulations need to be implemented… not just minor tweaks to make it somewhat appear in writing that something has been done.

  10. murraydonna

    We all direct the blame at the coal mining industries, but, can we really blame them? Although what they are doing is hazardous and detrimental to the environment, they are doing what we ask them to. Let’s take a look around at our daily lifestyle and the resources we so casually consume. Whatever happened to personal responsibility? If individuals within this country adapted their own lifestyles to consume less of these resources, the companies would have less demand and eventually would stop doing what they’re doing.
    (I do think we need a governmental policy to encourage individual responsibility, though, because some people will never get it!)

  11. Kim

    Your right, not only is the company doing this terrible act at fault but the government should also get involved. It makes you wonder where they are getting their money from to do this damage to our envivroment and why isn’t the government not doing anything to stop it? who knows the government maybe involved in it to make money, i wouldn’t put it past them. It’s sad that it all comes down to money rather than the well being of our enviroment. Coal maybe important to our ecomomy, but we really should find another way to get it, because this way is unacceptable.

  12. Scott

    I don’t understand why issues like this are not causing us to want to find better energy sources faster than what we are doing now. Not only is the environment being destroyed, but people are losing the quality of life that they once had in this area. But as we often see, short term economic gain is the most important issue in most peoples minds.

  13. Mike McLaughlin

    It’s not fair to the people that live there; They shouldn’t have the right to do such drastic changes to their environment.

  14. Mike McLaughlin

    It’s not fair to the people that live there; They shouldn’t have the right to do such drastic changes to their environment.

  15. Logan

    I am shocked that there is not more publicity on this topic.I had no idea how much damage this industry was creating to both the habitat and people alike. I feel sure that if peoples ways of life continue to be affected than more resistance will show up in the near future. -logan roberts

  16. Peggy

    I am currently deployed to Iraq, a resident of SC, a native kentuckian. My own mother told me not to buy property in the Appalachians, it wouldnt be worth anything soon.
    what these coal companies are doing, and what the politicians that have been bought by them are letting them do, is criminal. they are not only destroying ancient mountians, that can never be replaced and turning the Appalachians in to a waste land, they are destroying the futures of the people’s children, committing Cultural Genocide. They cover peoples homes in coal dust, thier yards in mud slides, crack the foundations on thier houses from blasts, steal thier property by severly underpaying the ones who do sell, and render the nearby properties of the ones who wont sell worthless by thier presense. Who wants to live near a mining site. Soon our mountains will be gone, and so will the coal…and what then? what is next?

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