Why is mountaintop mining so controversial?

Why is mountaintop mining so controversial?

The most controversial mines are known as mountaintop removal mines because coal companies literally remove the tops of mountains with dynamite and earth-moving machines, called draglines, in order to reach coal seams.

Is mountaintop mining legal?

Mountaintop mining operations are regulated under the Clean Water Act (CWA). NPDES permits: CWA section 402, the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) Permitting Program, requires that coal mining operators receive permits in order to discharge pollutants to rivers, streams and other surface waters.

Who is responsible for mountaintop removal?

For 20 years, coal companies blasted off the mountaintops around the house of Rick Bradford, a retired teacher in Edwight, West Virginia, to excavate thin coal seams buried hundreds of feet deep.

Why is mountaintop removal legal?

Disposal of excess overburden associated with mountaintop removal mining has generally been permitted under Nationwide Permit 21 (NWP 21), which authorizes discharges from surface coal mining activities that result in no more than minimal impacts (site-specifically and cumulatively) to the aquatic environment.

Is mountaintop removal still legal?

Does mining destroy mountains?

Mountaintop removal mining devastates the landscape, turning areas that should be lush with forests and wildlife into barren moonscapes. Huge machines, called “draglines,” push rock and dirt into nearby streams and valleys, forever burying waterways.

Is mountaintop removal banned?

President Trump repealed the Stream Protection Rule on February 16, 2017. He used a formerly rarely-used, though growing in popularity especially for environmental regulation, federal statute called the Congressional Review Act (CRA).

Where does mountaintop removal mining take place?

Where is mountaintop removal happening? Mountaintop removal takes place primarily in eastern Kentucky, southern West Virginia, southwestern Virginia, and eastern Tennessee.

What loophole legalized mountaintop removal?

Back in 2002, the Bush administration created a loophole by adopting a regulation defining mining spoil from surface mines (and other similar wastes) as “fill material” to be regulated by the Corps—essentially legalizing mountaintop removal by allowing the dumping of mining waste into waterways.

Why do coal companies use mountaintop removal?

Primarily, mountaintop removal is occurring in West Virginia, Kentucky, Virginia and Tennessee. Coal companies in Appalachia are increasingly using this method because it allows for almost complete recovery of coal seams while reducing the number of workers required to a fraction of what conventional methods require.

How can we stop mountaintop mining?

Top 3 Ways to Rid U.S. Need for Mountaintop Removal Coal

  1. 1 Be Energy Efficient. One answer is that opportunities for energy efficiency in the US are huge.
  2. 2 Invest in Renewable Energy.
  3. 3 Stop Exporting Coal.

What will happen to an abandoned strip mine over time?

An abandoned strip mine will partially recover over time. Without human intervention, however, its recovery will be minimal. Explain why mining has such a large impact on the environment. Mining has a large impact on the environment because minerals are contained within the Earth.