I mentioned when we were lost in the south Pittsburgh suburbs that “Those who claim the mountains of southern West Virginia need to be leveled to provide building space should go visit the Pittsburgh area.”  Today two studies were announced, on the extent of mountaintop removal in central Appalachia, and on the sites that have actually been used for economic development.  Details here.View from Dolly Sods

If you have been to Great Smoky Mountains National Park, you know what these mountains are like before.  If not, this picture does not begin to capture it.

Over 500 mountaintops have been removed, mostly in eastern Kentucky and southern West Virginia.  During, they look like this.

Fewer than one in ten of the 500 mountains has been used for economic development:

“The so-called beneficial development projects include: industrial parks (4); oil and gas fields (3); golf courses (3); airports (2); municipal parks (2); hospital (1); ATV training center (1); county fairground (1).”

Most “reclaimed” sites look like this, at best – from a mining industry brochure on mountaintop removal mining:

Since the topsoil has been removed, it will no longer support the rich mountain forests it once did, and the streams fed from the runoff do not support the life they did, even far downstream in the valleys.  Over 100 miles of streams have been buried so far and the land is ruined for timber production.

Please read the reports, and consider contacting your power company and your federal legislators and telling them that we must find another way to keep the lights on.

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