Coal / Mountaintop Removal

A troubling look at the human toll of mountaintop removal mining

The Kayford Mine near Charleston, West Virginia (Credit: Dennis Dimick / FLICKR).

NEW HAVEN, CT — “The devastating environmental impacts of mountaintop removal mining in Appalachia have long been well documented. But over the last decade, Indiana University researcher Michael Hendryx has been examining another consequence of this form of coal surface mining that had previously been overlooked: the health impacts on the people in the surrounding communities.

What he has found, Hendryx says, is a public health disaster, with more than a thousand extra deaths each year in areas of Appalachia where mountaintop removal (MTR) operations take place. The air and water pollution caused by this mining practice, which involves deforesting and tearing off mountaintops to get at the coal, is leading to increases in cardiovascular disease, lung cancer, pulmonary disease, and birth defects, his research shows.”

— Richard Schiffman, Yale Environment 360

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