Post Classifieds

Remove Mountaintop Removal

By Julia Hawkins
On October 27, 2011

  • The ETSU community received an early morning warning about an alleged sexual assault. Since then, Public Safety officials have concluded the investigation. No charges will be filed. Seth Johns

Some of us may have been driving around town and have seen the bumper stickers "I Love Mountains" and wondered what exactly they mean. These stickers are related to standing up against mountaintop removal and have a website on the subject at ilovemountains.org.

Mountaintop removal is one of the major environmental concerns of our region and involves the blasting away of mountains in order to extract coal.

This practice destroys habitats for a variety of wildlife, pollutes water ways and releases toxic particles into the air.

It causes harm to human health and the surrounding area, along with defacing what makes our region beautiful and unique.

Our mountains — as well as the plants and animals that live on them — are a part of what makes East Tennessee beautiful, and there are different ways people can help protect them from mountaintop removal.

There are a number of organizations dedicated to stopping mountaintop removal, most of which are grassroots and started by concerned people living in our community.

These groups have different locations ranging from West Virginia, where mountaintop removal is extremely prevalent, to Kentucky and of course Tennessee. The group that is working toward stopping the spread of this practice in Tennessee is called the United Mountain Defense.

They are a nonprofit and volunteer-driven group that focuses on bringing awareness about the harm of coal mining, along with aiding people who have been harmed by these practices and attempting to help pass laws and regulations that would eliminate mountaintop removal.

Our campus even has a group that has been working toward stopping this practice, as well as handling other environmental issues known as the Environment Conservation Organization.

Recently, a film on campus called The Last Mountain was screened, about coalmining and mountaintop removal in Coal River Valley. The documentary was featured to help raise awareness about the subject and show the damages caused by mountaintop removal.

Coalmining has a long history of being a main source for power in our region, and the attempts to stop it may be met with resistance by people who feel there is no coal alternative.

However, the destruction caused by mountaintop removal is much greater than any benefits coal might provide.

The ecology of the mountains is at stake from this type of mining, as well as the lives of the people inhabiting them.

The land is usually scarred and barren after it has been mined, and it does not resemble the tree-covered haven it once was.

Most companies are responsible for restoring the land after mining, but these practices do not always bring back the health of the land and do not reverse the damage already inflicted.

Overall, mountaintop removal should be met with resistance by the people who have come to love them as their home.

 


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