Regulators are ignoring a growing crisis unfolding in modern mine reclamation. Coal companies are often failing to complete timely reclamation, and safeguards to ensure mine cleanup are failing. Communities are already seeing a new, more devastating wave of abandoned mines — a problem that will get worse without action.
Imagine a landscape that, 10 years ago, was a moonscape mountaintop removal coal mine and is now carefully managed as a large-scale working forest growing trees to capture carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and combat climate change. Appalachian Voices is exploring making this vision a reality in the years to come through a reforestation project that engages with the emerging carbon offset market.
During a recent U.S. House Natural Resources subcommittee hearing, Erin Savage of Appalachian Voices and two other Appalachian residents testified about acid mine drainage, abandoned mine sites and the impacts of ongoing mountaintop removal coal mining.
Coal mine regulations have not kept up with the industry’s collapse, leaving regulators without the money – or the legal tools – to address growing problems of scarred landscapes and polluted waters.
Despite a national coal downturn, mining has not slowed much in Raleigh County, West Virginia, where companies have proposed two new mountaintop removal coal mines.
People living near a pair of Virginia mountaintop removal coal mines have long complained about blasting and dust. Now, the company’s bankruptcy makes it even harder for nearby residents to get relief.
Years after mining ends, selenium pollution from mountaintop removal coal mining operations still accumulates in insects downstream.
Over 100 miners from across the Appalachian region are traveling to Washington D.C. this week to lobby lawmakers on a number of issues related to black lung disease, a fatal respiratory condition caused by continuous exposure to harmful dust and rock particles in and around coal mines.
Filers of the petition argue that future surface coal mining near Benham and Lynch, Ky., would harm residents’ health and enjoyment of the area, as well as the towns’ historic character and attempts to attract tourism.
Gainesville, Fla., citizens push their utility away from mountaintop removal coal and toward clean energy.