Mountaintop Removal Roadshow comes to Centre
RELEASED: Sept. 22, 2005
DANVILLE, KYMountaintop removal coal mining will be the focus of a multimedia slide show at Centre College on Thursday, Sept. 29, at 7 p.m. in Young 101. The event is free and open to the public.
"Mountaintop removal isn't just an environmental issue," says Kerri Howard, a sophomore anthropology/sociology major from Mt. Sterling, Ky and a member of E.C.C.O, the Environmentally Conscious Centre Organization. "It's an issue of social justice and human rights as wellan issue that is especially pertinent at Centre, because many students come from areas like Eastern Kentucky and West Virginia that are dramatically affected by these practices."
The Mountaintop Removal Roadshow focuses on the environmental and human effects of mountaintop removal coal mining (MTR) in the Appalachian Mountains. A Web site affiliated with the Roadshow, mountainjusticesummer.org, describes mountaintop removal mining as "strip mining on steroids" and says MTR has the effect of "transforming some of the most biologically diverse temperate forests in the world into biologically barren moonscapes."
The MTR process, says mountainjusticesummer.org, starts with the clear-cutting of forests, which destroys habitat and scrapes away topsoil. Powerful explosives then blast up to 800 feet off mountaintops, causing "fly rock" to rain off mountains, endangering resident's lives and homes. Huge shovels then dig into the soil, which is either hauled away or pushed into adjacent valleys. Enormous machines scoop out layers of coal, dumping millions of tons of "overburden"the former mountaintopsinto the narrow adjacent valleys, thereby creating valley fills. Coal companies have buried over 1,200 miles of biologically crucial Appalachian headwaters streams.
The human impact of MTR is also significant. "Traditional mining communities disappear as jobs diminish and residents are driven away by dust, blasting and increased flooding and dangers from overloaded coal trucks careening down small, windy mountain roads. Mining companies buy many of the homes and tear them down. Dynamite is cheaper than people, so mountaintop removal mining does not create many new jobs," says the mountainjusticesummer.org Web site.
"Appropriate policy decisions require attention to all of the costs and benefits of potentially regulated activities," says David Anderson, Blazer Associate Professor of Economics at Centre. "The benefits from coal energy are clear. The Mountaintop Removal Road Show provides a critical view of some of the hidden costs."
The Mountaintop Removal Road Show is sponsored by E.C.C.O.
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