Negative Impacts Of Coal Mining

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Coal has been the primary source of energy for the United States for quite a long time. In 2014 it accounted for 39% of the total energy produced by our nation, and in 2003, 92% of all coal was used for energy production. The US is currently heavily invested in the coal industry, and finding an alternative energy source would be an arduous process. Unfortunately though, coal is a nonrenewable resource, and it greatly affects our ecosystem negatively. Coal mining is the leading contributor to the human-made increase of CO2 in the atmosphere. Not only that, but it also hurts workers in the mines. It has been known to cause a disease called “Black Lung” which statistically kills an average of 1,000 coal miners per year. With this said, I firmly…show more content…
For one, coal mining is one of the most water intensive industries, often requiring 2.5 tonnes of water for each tonne of coal produced, creating three to six billion tonnes of water waste per year. This can affect the water table by drastically increasing its PH, and it alters groundwater levels tremendously (due to the amount of water needed to refine the coal). Also, mining releases coal burnings into the air that combine with oxygen to form SO2. This SO2 can then mix with the moisture in the air to form acid rain which can harmful to the environment. Of course, coal mining doesn’t just affect the environment around us, it also can be disastrous to the workers in the coal mine. One of the worst events in history occurred in 1970 in West Virginia when a coal dust explosion in the Upper Big Branch mine killed 29/31 workers. The company that owned the mine was forced to sell to a competitor and pay $209. After this event, coal prices skyrocketed for over 10 years, before dropping again (shown by the graph to the right). Other events like this have occurred all over the world and are always a constant threat lurking in the back of every miners
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