All forms of mining give rise to a variety of environmental concerns, but so-called mountain top removal coal mining in the American Appalachian Mountains is more damaging than most. The practice involves explosive removal of entire mountain tops in order to expose the coal, the resulting rock being placed in nearby valleys, often blocking streams. After the coal has been removed the spoil is then typically replaced to form a ‘new’ mountain.
The practice has generated a lot of criticism and protest from local people and environmental groups, with widespread allegations of pollution, habitat destruction, loss of amenity, and few benefits for the local communities affected.
Photo by iLoveMountains via Flickr