Mountain Top Removal Is an American Tragedy

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Mountain Top Removal is an American tragedy, the process in which mining companies remove forests and topsoil then explode the mountain apart level by level to get to coal layer. It is estimated that the explosives are equivalent of the Hiroshima bomb. A lot of the mining waste is discarded into valleys and streams; the water runoff is high in silt, ion, and sulfur compounds, which in turn pollute water downstream. Even with chemical treatments, vegetation has a hard time growing on the infertile and highly acidic soil. Mountain top removal occurs in eastern Kentucky, southern West Virginia, southwest Virginia, and east Tennessee. Virtually 1.2 million acres of land has been surface mined and more than 500 mountains have been ruined by mountaintop removal mining.

The source Mountain Justice,,, delves into the steps and effects of this harmful process. First, the forests are clear-cut; the topsoil is scraped away, as well as the lumber, and herbs such as goldenseal and ginseng. Then explosives are used and can detonate up to 800 feet off mountaintops, and they often damage home foundations and wells. Afterwards, huge shovels dig into the soil and trucks usually push it into adjacent valleys.

A machine known as a dragline then digs into the rock to reveal the coal, the machines hollow out the tiers of coal and dump millions of overburden, the previous mountaintops, into constricted nearby valleys, thereby producing valley fills. Coal companies have covered over 1,200 miles of biologically crucial Appalachian headwaters streams.

Often, the effects of Mountain top Removal are disastrous, the wildlife habitat is damaged and vegetation loss usually leads to numerous floods and landslides. When explosives are used, fly rock, ...

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...The fields are not just circles in the earth; the ground is no longer soil, its just dirt. I find it disheartening; the mountains were their life and its being stolen from them.

I comprehend that the future of coal depends on change and innovation; I feel America needs to use clean energy in the future to protect our environment and public health. I think changes to the clean water act created ambiguity to coal companies, which allowed the dumping of mining waste into our nations waterways. Appalachia needs to rely less on coal mining and concentrate on diversifying the economy. Appalachia has an abundance of resources that can be urbanized to supply new jobs and clean energy methods, such as wind, solar, hydropower and biomass, which could support rural areas. With political and economic guidance, I believe Appalachia could transition from coal to clean energy.

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