08 Jan 2010:
Scientists Call for an End
To Mountaintop Removal Coal Mining
Mountaintop removal coal mining is causing “pervasive and irreversible damage” to Appalachian forests and streams and the federal government should stop issuing permits for new mines
, according to a report issued by 12 environmental scientists. The report, published in the journal Science
recent studies of the damage caused by mountaintop removal mining and found that the practice releases large amounts of toxic chemicals into streams, harming fish and birds and contaminating human drinking water supplies. The scientists said state and federal regulators have been paying surprisingly little attention to the damage caused by mountaintop removal mining, which involves blasting the tops off mountains to mine coal seams below, then dumping mining debris into streams. To date, 2,040 square miles of forested land have been destroyed and 2,000 miles of streams buried under mining debris
. “Regulators should no longer ignore rigorous science,” the scientists wrote in their report. They recommended that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency stop issuing new permits for mountaintop removal mines “unless new methods can be subjected to rigorous peer review and shown to remedy these problems.” The study’s lead author, Margaret Palmer of the University of Maryland, said, “The reason we’re willing to make a policy recommendation is that the evidence is so clear-cut.” Watch an e360 video on mountaintop mining
Yale Environment 360 is
a publication of the
Yale School of Forestry
& Environmental Studies
Accepting entries through June 15, 2015.
Yale Environment 360
articles are now available in Spanish and Portuguese on Universia
, the online educational network. Visit the site.
Business & Innovation
Policy & Politics
Pollution & Health
Science & Technology
Antarctica and the Arctic
Central & South America
Photographer Robert Wintner documents the exquisite beauty and biodiversity of Cuba’s coral reefs, which are largely intact thanks to stifled coastal development in the communist nation. View the gallery.
is now available for mobile devices at e360.yale.edu/mobile
The Warriors of Qiugang
, a Yale Environment 360
video, chronicles a Chinese village’s fight against a polluting chemical plant. It was nominated for a 2011 Academy Award for Best Documentary Short.
Watch the video.
Top Image: aerial view of Iceland
. © Google & TerraMetrics.
A three-part series Tainted Harvest
looks at the soil pollution crisis in China, the threat it poses to the food supply, and the complexity of any cleanup. Read the series.