Risks Of Mountaintop Removal Essay

1221 words - 5 pages

1GuidryShelby GuidryDr. Lisa MoodyEnglish 1012 December 2013Risks of Mountaintop RemovalMountaintop removal poses risks to both humans and the environment because of the dangerous aspect of the coal mining process. Mountaintop removal is extremely popular in the Appalachian Mountains, causing risks to the citizens and environment in the area. "Appalachia used to be described as the richest and most developed ecosystem in North America" (Frayley 365). Ever since mountaintop removal became popular in the area, Appalachia is slowly being destroyed. Mountaintop removal triggers risks in humans and the environment because of the danger and toxins involved in the process. In order to fully understand the risks of mountaintop removal, the ways in which the procedure causes damage to the life of humans in the area, the environment surrounding the mountains, and the mountains that are being mined merit a closer look.Mountaintop removal is a new coal mining process that uses dangerous explosives to dig further into the mountain to access one or more coal seams. These seams, located in the depths of the mountain, contain a higher quality of coal. Mountaintop removal destroys the environment around it. It results in the clearing of forests, the contamination of water, the depletion of the surrounding valleys, and destroying the mountains themselves. This process is seen dominantly in the Appalachian Mountains.Mountaintop removal causes damage to the life of humans in the area, especially in the Appalachian Mountains. People who live in Appalachia are affected because it is destroying their land. The explosives cause disruption in the land, causing vibrations, which leads to an unstable foundation in many of the Appalachian homes. These vibrations have caused many houses to fall. The vibrations from the explosives are not the only things endangering citizens of Appalachia though. Rocks from the mountains can become uncontrollable and could land on a citizen's house if they are living too close to the construction site. Many lives are being disrupted because of mountaintop removal. Take a man named Larry Gibson for example. He owns 50 acres of the land that is currently being mined in West Virginia. "300 of his relatives who are buried there are slowly being torn up by the mining operations around it" (Motavalli 35). Gibson's entire history is being destroyed around him so that the United States can produce a better quality of coal.Another way that mountaintop removal is causing damage to the life of humans is that this process is contaminating the Appalachian citizen's drinking water. Some citizens that live too far into Appalachia are not able to reach the state provided drinking water, so they would get their water from the streams surrounding the mountains. The explosives being used contain toxic acids and mercury. When the debris from the mountain is placed in the valleys it would contaminate the streams, causing undrinkable water. (McQuaid...

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