Without exploring the issue in too much technical detail, mountaintop coal removal is the process in which coal is extracted from hillsides using explosives to fragment large pieces of rock apart to access coal reserves. This process has been used in the Appalachian mountains at the expense of both aesthetic beauty and environmental quality. Mountaintop coal removal literally flattens mountains. The coal is extracted and the other mining debris is then disposed of by dumping in low lying areas. These areas hold important watersheds that are vital to maintaining water quality and preserving the Appalachian Mountain's rich biodiversity. The mining debris chokes out small mountain streams, and the runoff from these dumping sites is responsible for both increased turbidity and degradation of other water quality parameters further downstream. The mountain's topography is drastically changed, and the tree coverage is eliminated further compounding the problems from erosion.
Here are some links to other blogs and articles concerning mountaintop coal removal:
NRDC Blog another NRDC Blog
Definition of terms from the United Mountain Defense Fund
|Zeb Mountain, Tennessee. Photo by United Mountain Defense|
This issue is important to Tennesseans. We urge you to seek out more information, form your own opinion and then contact your representatives and tell them what you think. Click HERE to identify your Tennessee state senator and representative.
Lee Friedlander, TNACI Conservation Associate