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12 February 2012 @ 04:05 pm
Mountaintop Removal  
I realize that 99% of the people I know online are not U.S. citizens, and those who are may or may not care that much.

However, out of the battles I've chosen to fight, this is one. Being something of an environmentalist, though, I can't help but care.
For one thing, I've seen the unadulterated beauty of the the Appalachian Mountains, and the thought of destroying it breaks my heart. The fact that it's destroying people's homes makes it even worse.

First, I'll give a little explanation:

The Appalachian Mountains are not rocky; really, they look like enormous hills, and are covered in a hardwood forest.

The thing is, the Appalachian Mountains have a lot of coal in them. And coal mining companies have been coming in and doing what is called mountaintop removal mining: “Mountaintop removal/valley fill is a mining practice where the tops of mountains are removed, exposing the seams of coal. Mountaintop removal can involve removing 500 feet or more of the summit to get at buried seams of coal. The earth from the mountaintop is then dumped in the neighboring valleys.”

Basically, it involves clearing out all the trees on top of the mountain. Then they blast deep below, effectively removing 500-800 feet off the top of the mountain. The waste from these removals is then dumped in valleys, which will often completely bury streams. The waste is stored in the open, and includes arsenic, mercury, and lead. The companies rarely do anything effective to "reclaim" the land, usually doing no more than spraying the land with grass seed that isn't even native to the land.

As for the effect of the communities near it: there are increasingly frequent floods, blasting takes place as close as 300 feet from their homes 24 hours a day, and toxic sludge gets into the drinking water. A sludge dam breach in Martin County, KY, in 2000, sent more than 300 million gallons of toxic coal sludge into tributaries of the Big Sandy, causing what the EPA called, “The biggest environmental disaster ever east of the Mississippi.”

So far there are 11 states taking action to ban this form of mining: Georgia, Kentucky, Maine, Maryland, Missouri, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, Washington DC, and West Virginia.

Still, it would be nice if it was banned nationwide. So if you live in the United States, I would really appreciate if you would at least look at this website, which has more information, including how you're connected, and which also provides pledge forms and petitions for your state senators and representatives.

(Now I'm going to stop letting myself get a stomachache about it, at least for a little while; I've taken progressive steps.)

See you later, instigator: Landscape - mirroredoudeteron on February 13th, 2012 07:20 pm (UTC)
Yuck. That's an awful way of exploiting the environment. :/

(Not in the US, as you know, but yeah. Just reading about this makes me cringe.)
MissTeacakes: shaunmissteacakes on February 13th, 2012 07:43 pm (UTC)
Tell me about it. The Appalachians are one of the last pieces of the U.S. that are mostly untouched.

And even if you're heartless enough not to care about the environment, these companies should have more respect for people's homes. Many families that live there have done so since before the country was formed. (The concept of "home" is very important to me.) There's a lot of exploitation of the poor involved in this, since the companies offer large amounts of money to the landowners, and there's a large fraction of people who live there are are at or below the poverty level.