Mountaintop removal (MTR) is a form of coal mining in which coal companies blast the top off of mountains with explosive devices in order to access coal seams. Over 500 Appalachian mountains have been destroyed and over 1,200 miles of stream have been buried by mountaintop removal. MTR not only completely obliterates some of the most biodiverse ecosystems on the North American continent and violates the Clean Air and Clean Water Acts, but also has dramatic and destructive impacts on local communities. MTR’s poisoning of air and water results in increased rates of mortality, lung cancer, and chronic heart, lung, and kidney disease in surrounding communities. The environmental and health impacts of MTR are so enormous that the author of a peer-reviewed 2010 study on MTR published in Science Magazine stated: “The science is so overwhelming that the only conclusion that one can reach is that mountaintop mining needs to be stopped.”
Communities are also subjected to increased rates of flooding as a result of MTR, and families have to endure the effects of blasting, which often shakes house foundations and can send boulders flying through homes. Moreover, MTR results in the creation of coal sludge dams such as the Brushy Fork Sludge Impoundment, which further threaten the safety of drinking water and pose a genuine risk of environmental catastrophe in the event of dam failure. Entire communities are frequently destroyed by MTR, as coal companies buy out homes devalued by the effects of mining at artificially low prices. A highly mechanized form of mining, MTR provides far fewer jobs than alternative forms of mining.
For more information, check out: http://ilovemountains.org/