An analysis of the coal extraction process mountaintop removal mining mtr

What are the effects of mountaintop removal on families and communities? Even government agencies that regulate mountaintop removal agree that the effects on nearby homes and communities can be devastating. Dynamite blasts needed to splinter rock strata are so strong they crack the foundations and walls of houses. Mining dries up an average of wells a year and contaminates water in others.

An analysis of the coal extraction process mountaintop removal mining mtr

Overview[ edit ] The examples and perspective in this article deal primarily with the United States and do not represent a worldwide view of the subject. You may improve this articlediscuss the issue on the talk pageor create a new articleas appropriate. The MTR process involves the removal of coal seams by first fully removing the overburden lying atop them, exposing the seams from above.

Mountaintop removal mining

This method differs from more traditional underground miningwhere typically a narrow shaft is dug which allows miners to collect seams using various underground methods, while leaving the vast majority of the overburden undisturbed.

Mountaintop removal has been practiced since the s. Its prevalence expanded further in the s to retrieve relatively low-sulfur coala cleaner-burning form, which became desirable as a result of amendments to the U.

Clean Air Act that tightened emissions limits on high-sulfur coal processing. Layers of rock and dirt above the coal called overburden are removed. The upper seams of coal are removed with spoils placed in an adjacent valley.

Draglines excavate lower layers of coal with spoils placed in spoil piles.

An analysis of the coal extraction process mountaintop removal mining mtr

Regrading begins as coal excavation continues. Once coal removal is completed, final regrading takes place and the area is revegetated. The waivers are granted if adequate amounts of topsoil are not naturally present on the rocky ridge top.

Once the area is cleared, miners use explosives to blast away the overburdenthe rock and subsoilto expose coal seams beneath. The overburden is then moved by various mechanical means to areas of the ridge previously mined. These areas are the most economical area of storage as they are located close to the active pit of exposed coal.

If the ridge topography is too steep to adequately handle the amount of spoil produced then additional storage is used in a nearby valley or hollow, creating what is known as a valley fill or hollow fill.

Once coal removal is completed, the mining operators back stack overburden from the next area to be mined into the now empty pit.

Mountaintop Removal in Appalachia | Southern Environmental Law Center

After backstacking and grading of overburden has been completed, topsoil or a topsoil substitute is layered over the overburden layer. Next, grass seed is spread in a mixture of seed, fertilizer, and mulch made from recycled newspaper.

Depending on surface land owner wishes the land will then be further reclaimed by adding trees if the pre-approved post-mining land use is forest land or wildlife habitat. If the land owner has requested other post-mining land uses the land can be reclaimed to be used as pasture land, economic development or other uses specified in SMCRA.

This can result in a vertical descent of hundreds of extra feet into the earth. In MTR, through the use of explosives and large machinery, more than two and a half times as much coal can be extracted per worker per hour than in traditional underground mines, [17] thus greatly reducing the need for workers.

MTR is sometimes the most cost-effective method of extracting coal. Studies by Mark L. Hicks and Cal Kent identified significant state-level tax losses attributable to lower levels of mining notably the studies did not examine potential environmental costs, which the authors acknowledge may outweigh commercial benefits.

Please update this article to reflect recent events or newly available information. Although most coal mining sites must be reclaimed to the land's pre-mining contour and use, regulatory agencies can issue waivers to allow MTR.

The EPA and Army Corps of Engineers changed a rule to include mining debris in the definition of fill material, and the ruling was overturned.

An analysis of the coal extraction process mountaintop removal mining mtr

He also declared that the Army Corps of Engineers has no authority to issue permits allowing discharge of pollutants into such in-stream settling ponds, which are often built just below valley fills.

Under current policy, as long as a given MTR mining operation complies with federal surface mining law, the agency presumes conclusively, despite the complexities of intra- and inter-species relationships, that the instance of MTR in question is not damaging to endangered species or their habitat.

Sincethis policy has exempted many strip mines from being subject to permit-specific reviews of impact on individual endangered species.

The surveys require approval from state and federal biologists, who provide informal guidance on how to minimize mines' potential effects to species. While the agencies have the option to ask for formal endangered species consultations during that process, they do so very rarely.

This proposed legislation would have been the only legislation of its kind in the United States; however, the bill was defeated. Please help improve it or discuss these issues on the talk page. This section is too long to read comfortably, and needs subsections. Please format the article according to the guidelines laid out in the Manual of Style.

July This article's Criticism or Controversy section may compromise the article's neutral point of view of the subject. Please integrate the section's contents into the article as a whole, or rewrite the material.Jul 21,  · Mountaintop removal mining (MTR) mining, the major method of coal mining in and around Central Appalachia.

MTR mining impacts the air, mountaintop removal (MTR) mining has become a major method of coal mining in and around data extraction process, individual study quality assessment method (i.e., risk of bias), and strategy. Across central Appalachia, the coal industry is leaving a path of destruction in the wake of mountaintop removal coal mining.

For the industry, this is a relatively cheap and expedient way to extract coal, but for the environment and . Advances in technology and growing demand for energy has allowed mining companies operating in the Appalachian Mountains to extract coal through a devastating practice known as mountaintop removal (MTR).

Coal companies engaging in MTR mining blast away ridge tops with explosives to expose the coal seams underneath. Aug 08,  · Mountaintop removal mining (MTR), also known as mountaintop mining (MTM), is a form of surface mining that involves the topographical alteration and/or removal of a summit, hill, or ridge to access buried coal seams..

The MTR process involves the removal of coal seams by first fully removing the overburden laying atop them, exposing the seams from above.

Mountaintop removal mining (MTR), also known as mountaintop mining (MTM), is a form of surface mining at the summit or summit ridge of a mountain.

Coal seams are extracted from a mountain by removing the land, or overburden, above the seams. This method of coal mining is conducted in the Appalachian Mountains in the eastern United States. About , acres in West Virginia alone have been leveled, and mountaintop removal mining has destroyed an estimated total of a million acres of Appalachia's mountains.

Across the Appalachian coalfields, more than 1, miles of streams are now buried or otherwise destroyed by mountaintop removal mining practices.

Mountaintop removal mining - Wikipedia