Monday, September 10, 2007

Blowing The Top Off Mountaintop Mining

Wired Magazine has an excellent look at the devastating realities of mountaintop mining on their front page today. It's a subject that's been discussed more than once here at HS, and should be of interest to just about everybody who lives in Appalachia.

The article presents a harrowing examination of mining's effects on our communities and ecosystems. I think this single quote alone hammers home a very immediate point:

The EPA estimates that at least 2,300 square miles of forest -- an area the size of Delaware -- will be lost by 2010.

That land is not being reforested. In fact, most of the abandoned mining land from the last few decades has been reclaimed by shrub growth and grasses rather than the essential hardwoods. You don't have to think hard for the math to make you uncomfortable - in a little over two years from now, we will have lost enough hardwood forest to fill the state of Delaware.

There is no excuse for that kind of environmental abuse - and you don't have to be a conservationist to realize it.

Take a moment to read the article and examine the photographic evidence. Maybe it's time the Hillbilly Savants community put our collective efforts into a little Congressional lobbying.


Jeremy Peters said...

Excellent post on MTR and great find in Wired Magazine!

Unfortunately, there is too much money from energy and mining interests floating around at the federal and state level for lobbying to make much impact on MTR. As long as there are palms willing to be greazed with mining money, it is going to be a tough issue to resolve.

Efforts by citizen groups and ecumenical communities at the grassroots level seem to be the most effective in raising awareness, and filling the blogosphere with information is a good way to contribute. And that is something we at HS can certainly do, on this and a variety of topics.

Matt Davis said...

We're hearing about MTR all the way out here in Indianapolis. Please, pressure your Congressmen and Congresswomen, this is an issue that affects us all. In addition to the loss of the forest, MTR pollutes mountain streams, underground water sources, etc. I know that they use some of the mined materials to pave highways and that is just as hazardous to any community the road might wind through (runoff from the road breaking down over time pollutes the water table). This is a sick and disgusting business and is yet another wave of outsiders exploiting the good people of Appalachia. My two cents, anyway.

bluemountainmama said...

yes... please do keep spreading the word about MTR.... i have to believe we can collectively do something. the alternative, of not being able to stop it, is a devastating thought..

Kathy said...

I have been sent your link by a friend and enjoyed my look around. No one single person can possibly stop the destruction of our mountains, stream beds, and forests but collectively we can accomplish anything.

The Appalachian Mountains has given more than enough for the energy needs of this country and we simply have nothing left to sacrifice. We should not be polluting the air we breathe, the water we drink, or the fish we eat.