Mountaintop removal (MTR) is a form of strip mining in which explosives are used to blast off the tops of mountains in order to reach the coal seams that lie underneath. This is a much quicker and easier process of mining that takes less manpower and time. Even though this process of using explosives seems to be the better option, the by-products from the explosives are so harmful that they should not be ignored. It is said to be the “most ruthless” method to mine coal as inexpensively and swiftly as possible. Though a minimal amount of rules and regulations regarding mountaintop removal exist, they are seldomly applied. An article in On Earth Magazine, by Erik Fleece, goes as far as calling this process an Appalachian apocalypse.
There is a process in which mountaintop removal is done in. There is a clearing, blasting, digging, dumping wasted into valley fills, processing of the coal, and reclamations processes. It all starts with the clearing process where the trees that cover the mountain are cut down to prepare the mountain for blasting. Usually the cut down trees aren’t recycled for anything, they are sometimes sold for profit, but most likely burned and the topsoil is pushed into lower valleys. Next is the blasting step, this is to displace the earth and rock above the coal seams. The displaced soil and rock is considered overburden by the coal industry. The soil and rocks loosened by blasting cause chemical dust to become airborne and these chemical filled dusts settle on the surrounding communities. Once the blasting step is completed, the digging through the debris and rubble begins to reach the coal. Digging can remove as much as 1,400 feet of elevation from a mountain. The mountain is now tople...
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... impact on society. From the economy, to conservation, to the lives of members of the community mountaintop removal plays a key role. Large coal companies are benefiting while the health, culture and natural heritage of the region’s citizens are methodically being stripped away.
Reece, Erik. "Moving Mountains." Mountain-Top Removal Mining in Appalachia. N.p., Jan. 2006. Web. 27 Apr. 2014.
"The Last Mountain." Mountaintop Removal. N.p., n.d. Web. 27 Apr. 2014.
"$27 Million Fine for 6000 Mining Violations, C'mon!" $27 Million Fine for 6000 Mining Violations, C'mon! SustainableBusiness.com, 14 Mar. 2014. Web. 27 Apr. 2014.
"Plundering Appalachia - The Tragedy of Mountaintop-Removal Coal Mining :: The Issue." Plundering Appalachia - The Tragedy of Mountaintop-Removal Coal Mining :: The Issue. N.p., 2009. Web. 27 Apr. 2014.
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