Mining Essay

545 words - 3 pages

Nicholas SgaglioneProfessor CrottyOctober 2, 2013Dr. Michael Hendryx LecturePrevious to hearing Dr. Hendryx's lecture last week, I frankly didn't know much about mountaintop removal coal mining. My personal assumptions regarding the coal industry were fairly neutral. I knew that the industry had a relatively unfavorable effect on the environment and the man-made acceleration of climate change, yet I was unclear and indifferent as to the extent. My presumption was that these affects were less significant in reality than in our creative imaginations, and the benefits of this cheap form of power are indisputably clear. Nevertheless, after sitting in the auditorium last week and learning the cold truth, my perspectives were changed.Dr. Michael Hendryx, in ...view middle of the document...

The health affects that were listed were even more startling. Concluded from surveys conducted by the CDC and others conducted by Dr. Hendryx and his colleagues, it was found that lung-cancer, cardiopulmonary and kidney diseases, low birth rates, and birth defects are all much high in the areas of Appalachia were mountaintop mining occurs. These numbers have all been readjusted for all factors like age, income, smoking, etc. This is due to the fact that the coal dust particles are uncontained as in an underground mine, are can disperse freely in the atmosphere. Hendryx cited an animal conducted experiment in which this dust proved to be significantly damaging to heart cells and even vascular function. Furthermore, the "ultrafines" which are of a much smaller particle size than the dust, are found to be even more dangerous. Being about the size of a regular virus, they have a much higher deposition rate and surface to volume toxicity as compared to the dust. The coal industry and their lobbyists responses to all of the objectors and activists is that if we closed the industry down or proceeded to regulate their industry further, then countless Americans would go unemployed. They even claim that every coal-mining job generates between 5 and 6 other jobs somewhere else in the local economy. Yet this cannot be true. For the facts remain that the poverty rates are highest in areas where mountaintop mining is significant. After hearing all of this, I began thinking about how this industry only benefits those who sit atop, reaping the monetary benefits. We must all seek further and stricter regulation of these companies, especially when people's health and lives are at stake.

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