Mountaintop Removal Mining

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Photos by Pam Richart, Eco-Justice Collaborative

Mountaintop Removal Mining

Mountaintop removal mining (MTR) is a radical form of coal mining in which entire mountains are blown apart to access coal.  It began in the 1970′s when increased demand for coal in the United States, sparked by the 1973 and 1979 petroleum crises, created incentives for a more economical form of coal mining.

MTR expanded further in the 1990′s to retrieve relatively low-sulfur coal which became desirable as a result of amendments to the U.S. Clean Air Act.  These regulations tightened emissions limits on more polluting high-sulfur coal processing.

MTR has devastated over one million acres of Appalachia, polluting headwater streams, contaminating drinking water and destroying a distinctly American culture that has endured generations.  Over 2,000 miles of streams have been buried and more than 500 mountains and ridge tops literally have been “blown apart”….gone for eternity.

Visit Mountain Justice for a description of the steps and the impacts associated with mountaintop removal mining.

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Take Action Today!

The Clean Water Protection Act and The Appalachia Restoration Act are bills in the U.S. House of Representatives and the Senate that will sharply reduce mountaintop removal coal mining and protect clean drinking. If adopted, they will protect the quality of life for Appalachian coalfield residents who face frequent catastrophic flooding and pollution or loss of drinking water as a result of mountaintop removal coal mining.

But neither of the bills will pass though Congress, nor will the Obama administration make lasting changes, unless we take the time to contact our elected officials. Using the handy tools developed by, you can do just that!

Simply click here, enter your zip code, and either thank your elected official for sponsoring these bills, or ask him or her to do so, by using the letter provided.  It’s easy, effective and will take you just a few minutes.

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