Patriot Coal, one of the largest coal companies in America, recently announced its decision to end mountaintop removal mining (MTR) in the Appalachian Mountains.
To date, Patriot Coal is the only major coal company in America to pledge to stop mountaintop removal mining. On the surface, it might appear that the company has had a genuine change of heart, but the reality is that this decision was more out of economic necessity than concern for the environment and human health.
Several conservation groups, led by the Sierra Club, have pressured the company to end their destructive MTR practices for years, which resulted in numerous lawsuits filed against the company for environmental abuses. Those lawsuits have led to millions of dollars worth of fines and verdicts against the coal giant, which in turn gave us its new, anti-MTR platform.
The company released the following statement regarding its decision: