Front Porch Blog

Mountaintop Removal Featured in Latest Google Earth Release

Press Release – For Immediate Release
Mountaintop Removal Featured in Latest Google Earth Release

Contact: Appalachian Voices
Mary Anne Hitt, Executive Director | 828-262-1500 (w) | 540-239-0073 (c) |
Matthew Wasson, PhD, Conservation Director | 828-262-1500 (w) | 828-773-0788 (c) |
March 12, 2007

Boone, NC – Today’s release of featured content in the popular Google Earth program will include a new mountaintop removal coal mining layer created by nonprofit organizations in Appalachia. This month’s imagery and data release for Google Earth will include the National Memorial for the Mountains as one of the new Global Awareness layers in Google Earth, which will be available to all 200 million users of the application worldwide.

The National Memorial for the Mountains uses Google Earth to show the locations and tell the stories of mountains in Appalachia impacted by mountaintop removal, a form of coal mining that involves clear-cutting forests, blasting off the tops of mountains with explosives, and dumping the former mountaintop into valleys below, burying streams.

The new mountaintop removal layer in Google Earth features a high resolution tour of a large mountaintop removal site, 22 memorials that tell first-hand stories of families and communities impacted by mountaintop removal, and the locations of over 470 Appalachian mountaintops destroyed by mountaintop removal. Additional features include before-and-after views of mountaintop removal sites, a Google SketchUp model of the massive equipment used in mountaintop removal operations, and overlays of a large mine site over 36 U.S. cities.

To see the mountaintop removal layer in the Google Earth program (available for free download at, look for ‘Appalachian Mountaintop Removal’ under the Global Awareness’ folder of the ‘Layers’ sidebar.

The National Memorial for the Mountains is the centerpiece of, a project of 7 grassroots organizations in Appalachia working together to end the devastation of the region’s mountains, homes and communities by mountaintop removal coal mining: Appalachian Voices, Coal River Mountain Watch, Keeper of the Mountains Foundation, Kentuckians for the Commonwealth, Ohio Valley Environmental Coalition, Save Our Cumberland Mountains, and Southern Appalachian Mountain Stewards. and the National Memorial for the Mountains were produced by Appalachian Voices, an organization that brings people together to solve the environmental problems having the greatest impact on the central and southern Appalachian Mountains.





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