FAQ: What Is Mountain Top Removal?

What is mountaintop removal used for?

Mountaintop removal mining devastates the landscape, turning areas that should be lush with forests and wildlife into barren moonscapes. Huge machines, called “draglines,” push rock and dirt into nearby streams and valleys, forever burying waterways.

What is mountaintop removal and how does it work?

“ Mountaintop removal /valley fill is a mining practice where the tops of mountains are removed, exposing the seams of coal. Mountaintop removal can involve removing 500 feet or more of the summit to get at buried seams of coal. The earth from the mountaintop is then dumped in the neighboring valleys.”

What is the process of mountaintop removal?

What is the process of mountaintop removal coal mining?

  1. CLEARING. Before mining can begin, all topsoil and vegetation must be removed.
  2. BLASTING. Many Appalachian coal seams lie deep beneath the surface of the mountains.

How does mountaintop removal affect humans?

Since 2007, peer-reviewed studies by researchers from more than a dozen universities have concluded that mountaintop removal coal mining contributes to significantly higher rates of birth defects, cancer, cardiovascular and respiratory diseases among individuals living in the region where it occurs.

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How bad is mountaintop removal?

Toxic heavy metals such as cadmium, selenium, and arsenic leach into local water supplies, poisoning drinking water. This destructive practice, known as mountaintop – removal mining, sends carcinogenic toxins like silica into the air, affecting communities for miles around.

Why is mountaintop removal controversial?

The mining industry argues that mountaintop mining is essential to conducting surface coal mining in the Appalachian region and that it would not be economically feasible there if operators were barred from using valleys for the disposal of mining overburden. Critics have used litigation to challenge the practice.

How many mountains have been destroyed by mountaintop removal?

Tragically, mountaintop removal mining has already destroyed more than 500 mountains encompassing more than 1 million acres of Central and Southern Appalachia.

What are the environmental effects of mountaintop removal?

The impacts on communities of blowing up mountains and dumping the rubble into streams are profound. It forces residents to contend with contaminated drinking water, increased flooding, dangerous coal slurry impoundments, and higher rates of cancer and other health issues.

Can mountains be removed?

Mountains really can be moved. Or removed, at least. In one type of surface mining, entire mountaintops are razed to extract coal, and the byproducts are dumped into nearby water sources.

What is a mountaintop?

: the summit of a mountain.

Which type of mining is likely the least harmful to the environment?

Sub-Surface mining is likely the least harmful to the environment.

What animals are affected by mountaintop removal?

It takes place in the Appalachian Mountains, one of the oldest mountain ranges on Earth. During mountaintop removal, diverse hardwood forests teeming with life — turtles, bats, wildflowers, snakes — are blown to bits.

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