A group of the nation’s leading environmental scientists is calling on the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to stop issuing new mountaintop mining permits, arguing that the ecological and human health costs of the controversial mining practice are “pervasive and irreversible.”
The group of scientists published the first comprehensive assessment of the ecological and health impacts of mountaintop removal mining today in the journal Science, describing how the impacts of current and former mountaintop removal operations will be felt for centuries, with major implications for water quality, biodiversity, and human health. Shockingly, there’s never been a comprehensive assessment of MTR impacts until now.
Published only a few days after the Obama EPA misguidedly approved the expansion of Hobet 45, part of the largest mountaintop removal coal mine in West Virginia, the paper concludes that mountaintop removal’s impacts are much too steep to justify. The authors’ analysis of peer-reviewed research unequivocally confirms irreversible environmental impacts from mountaintop removal, a practice that also exposes local residents to a greater risk of serious health problems.
The number of anti-science decisions the federal government has made in recent years is staggering: axing the...