Natural Resources:Nonrenewable or Renewable

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Natural resource excavation comprises an area of land sustainability that remains detrimental to our environment. Looking at more specific examples of natural resource excavation allows for the best understanding of how large, and rather unexpected, an impact this category really makes. So, natural resources typically fall into two categories—nonrenewable and renewable. Both play a key role in land management, however society misused their role over past years, resulting in hazardous consequences. The first category, nonrenewable sources, includes fossil fuels—coal, oil, and natural gas. Nearly all countries use them to provide energy, and the most abundant of these is coal. The problem with coal of sources, besides the fact that it comes in limited quantities, lies in the excavation. Coal extraction typically occurs through strip mining when the coal seams are close to the earth's surface. Strip mining removes topsoil and rock above the coal seam, and places to one side in order to expose the coal. This causes exposure of the soil to weathering, compaction, erosion, and chemical alteration of nutrients. It also completely removes the natural flora and fauna and dramatically alters the original landscape, minimizing the ability to use the land once the mine becomes abandoned. Centralia, Pennsylvania attempted to do just that—reuse an abandoned mining site to maximize efficiency. In 1962, the city placed a landfill too near a coal seam which connected to an abandoned mining site. A few volunteer firefighters were hired to clean up the landfill by burning it. Once ignited, the fire spread through the seam into the abandoned coal mine and advanced underground. That fire still burns today. Now, that entire area, including the city,... ... middle of paper ... ...take control of our land and strip its potential use. Yet, we still hold the ability regain control. Regaining control involves action by both the people and government. For the coal problem, the government passed the Surface Mining Control and Reclamation Act (SMCRA) in 1977, establishing federal regulations for surface mining, requiring federal permits for mining on federal land, as well as attempting to restore abandoned mines. Also, the United States Department of Agriculture and the Mississippi Forestry Commission maintain several codes allowing for the prevention of wildfires, whether those methods consist of fuel treatments or simply clearing out slash. However, as Mr. Prendergast suggested, we must invest in these federal agencies responsible for evaluating and enforcing environmental laws, because without proper time and investment, none of this is possible.

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