What is mountain top removal?

Mountaintop removal refers to a group of intrusive surface coal mining techniques that blast off mountain peaks and ridges primarily in Central Appalachian states. Millions of tons of ammonia nitrate are used to blow apart the mountain. After the mountain is blow apart, the material expands and is pushed into valleys, sometimes called "hollows" in Appalachia. This dumping covers streams, and frequently leads to erosion and flooding problems.


Certain aspects of mountaintop removal have been declared illegal by circut judges in the US. The covering of streams with mine waste has been a particularly controversial practice and has been declared in violation of the Clean Water Act by a series of judges. Currently, these aspects are still in litigation, as the coal industry continues to use them regardless of court decisions.

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