Government Loophole

Appalachian Mountains Disappearing




More than 800 square miles of mountains are being destroyed in West Virginia, Kentucky, Virginia and Tennessee as mining companies blast their way deeper into diminishing coal seams. The summits of more than 470 named mountains already have been leveled, and corporations have buried and polluted 1,200 miles of mountain valley streams–headwaters for fresh water supplies along the Eastern seaboard. More than seven percent of Appalachian forests have been clearcut in the decimation. Unless stopped, current mountaintop removal rates will destroy more than 1.4 million acres by the end of the decade, an area roughly equal to the state of Delaware.

The actions threaten wildlife in this once biodiverse region, as well as local and downstream residents. Appalachian Voices, an organization that brings people together to solve regional environmental issues, reports that problems began in 2002 when the Bush administration changed the 1977 Clean Water Act to allow blasted debris to be dumped as fill.

To get involved, visit www.ILoveMountains.org, contact Outreach@AppVoices.org or call 1-828-262-1500.

Edit ModuleShow Tags

More from Natural Awakenings

Migrating Trees

Three-quarters of American tree species have shifted to the West since 1980 due to dryer conditions in the East and changing rainfall patterns.

Plutonium Problem

To safely dispose of 56 million gallons of nuclear waste dating back to the Second World War, the Department of Energy might replace a glass-log encasement plan with a cement option.

Bat Banter

Computer algorithms helped Israeli researchers decode the language of Egyptian fruit bats and discover that bats exchange information about specific problems.

Tuna Turnaround

Levels of toxic mercury in Atlantic Bluefin tuna declined 19 percent between 2004 and 2012, a drop that scientists attribute to a shift from coal to natural gas and renewable energy.

Buzzing RoboBees

Harvard researchers have invented tiny robotic bees that may be able to eventually pollinate the crops that are under threat because of vanishing bee colonies.
Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags