Mountaintop Removal: Critical fuel source or environmental antagonists?
Mountaintop Removal mining is a very controversial environmental issue with many pros and cons on both sides of the argument. I have found three different articles with three contrasting views in the sense that they are from different geographic regions. The three articles are from the St. Petersburg Times, The Washington Times, and The Guardian, which are located in Florida, Maryland, and London, respectively. Despite the varying locations, the three articles shared many similarities in their articles.
Mountaintop removal is a procedure in mining that involves using high power explosives for the removal of the top of a mountain to expose the valuable coal seams below. It differs from traditional underground mining in the sense that it is not underground. This technique of mining is safer for the workers because it results in a smaller rate of death compared to traditional mining. It also is more economical for big mining companies to practice surface mining, which can put out about 2.5 times more coal per worker than traditional techniques. So what is the big deal with mountaintop removal? It is safer and cost less than underground mining. The procedure of mountaintop removal is the catch. The same procedure that is safer for workers and more cost effective for companies has disastrous consequences for the environment. “Controversy over the practice stems from the extreme topological, ecological and hydrological changes that the mining site and surrounding areas undergo, as well as from the storage of the toxic waste material generated from the mining and processing of the coal”, according to www.sourcewatch.org. So mountaintop removal poisons nearby rivers with industrial runoff, clogs the air for nearby cities and towns, and the decrease in vegetation on the mountaintop results in increased runoff which causes floods for residents downhill from the mine.
The St. Petersburg Times defines the problem as the technique used to gather the coal and opposes the environmentally unfriendly techniques of mountaintop removal.” The problem now is that some coal companies embraced a type of coal mining called "mountaintop removal." It's mechanized, employs fewer workers and does not involve digging under the ground.” The Washington Times defines the problem as the destruction of nature at its finest and the look of a foreign planet compared to what the area used to consists of. “Mountaintop removal is an abomination of desolation, a spiritual wrong. It is a practice as ugly as sin, leaving a hideous, never-healing scar upon the Earth: where there was once a tree-covered mountain - providing majestic beauty as well as herbs, shelter for wildlife, arable soil, and much more - there is now a blasted heath.” James E. Person Jr. also points out the possibility of water contamination in saying, “Groundwater and creeks are contaminated with toxic chemicals and unidentifiable glop”. The Guardian, located in London, England, thinks the problem is the effects that the mountaintop removal sites have on the surrounding residents, both in health and private property damage due to the sites. It also states that residents in Pigeonroost Hallow have “filed a lawsuit against the state and federal government for granting permits that allow coal companies to decapitate mountaintops and deposit tons of debris in valleys. These huge waste disposal areas violate the Surface Mining Act and the Clean Water Act so the permits should never have been granted”. Residents are reportedly worried about the futures of their children and grandchildren and their place in the currently beautiful Pigeonroost Hallow, where the future of the regional landscape is shrouded in mystery and suspense. As for immediate and underlying causes of the problems, Robert Trigaux, of the St. Petersburg Times, goes on to explain the procedure and how it negatively effects the environment by saying,...
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