About Mountaintop Removal Coal Mining


DUST-TO-DUST, Perry County, Kentucky, 2007

Mountaintop removal coal mining removes the tops of mountains to reach the rich coal seams underneath. Mountaintop removal has many serious consequences:

Loss of Jobs:  Mountaintop removal takes many fewer workers than traditional methods to mine the same amount of coal. This has contributed significantly to the rapid loss of coal mining jobs — a two-thirds decline since 1980.

Loss of Streams: When the top of a mountain is lopped off, usually it is pushed into an adjacent hollow or valley. These valley fills bury streams with tons of mining waste. At least 750 miles of Kentucky headwater streams have already been permanently lost in this way. These small streams are integral parts of the watersheds that collect water for our rivers.

Loss of Economic Diversification Opportunities:  Value-added timber products and a thriving tourism industry, the very resources needed by Eastern Kentucky to diversify the economy – clean water, healthy forests, breathtaking views – are being permanently destroyed at a rapid rate by mountaintop removal.

Property Damage and Loss of Value:  Thousands of residents of Eastern Kentucky have been affected by blasting and dust and water contamination as well as by structural damage to their homes and wells.

Loss of Renewable Forest Resources:  Hundreds of square miles of forests in Appalachia are being destroyed by large-scale mining operations.

No More Flat Lands:  Mountaintop removal is often justified because it creates flat lands but only 2% of the land that has been flattened has been used for any economic development project. Tens of thousands of mined acres lie idle, unsuitable for any economic or social purpose. Development of this flat land in no way justifies the enormous destruction of forests and water, the loss of jobs, the damage to homes and property, and the disrespect that coalfield residents must endure.

We can meet our coal demands with less destructive methods of mining.

With political will and economic planning

we must stop mountaintop removal and valley fills

and all destructive forms of coal mining!