'Appalachian Voices commissioned a study in 2009 that showed nearly 1.2 million acres had been surface mined for coal and more than 500 mountains destroyed by mountaintop removal coal mining.' (Mountaintop Removal 101 > Appalachian Voices) The Last Mountain documentary is a documentary about the coal river mountain valley in West Virginia. The documentary talks about mountain top removal in all the mountains around this valley, and there is only one mountain left out of the three mountains that were there. It is talking about the fact that coal mining is destroying this region in West Virginia. Coal mining can lead to severe environmental issues in the region, including flooding, water contamination, and the destruction of the environment.
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Flooding has become a significant issue for many families and citizens in areas where mountain removal or coal mining is a significant part of daily life. 'This is their version of a headwater stream they call this a stream substitute but that it's it really hasn't life in it, it's plumbing that's all it is, it's a plumbing it's not ecology it's a plumbing job that's right it concentrates the flow of water and that's one of the reasons we have flooding problems downstream.' (Longsworth The Last Mountain)
The 'stream' that is being talked about in that evidence is a stream that was created after mountain removal happened due to coal mining. There is a lot more flooding in the areas affected by mountain top removal because the companies are destroying all the resists that the mountains provided to stop the massive flow of rain in those regions. Flooding now happens so often when it rains because there is no way of the flat mountain tops to stop the rain. There are no more trees, rocks, and dirt to give resists to the rain flow.
The lack of trees and other vegetation means homes that would have been safer from the flooding before mountain top removal are now stuck with the possibility of flooding destroying their homes anytime it rains. Many people wonder why the residents do not move if it is going to flood; the families in those mountain valleys have lived there for centuries, and most say the only reason they will move is when it gets so bad, they cannot take it any longer.
Water contamination is an issue that should not be an issue because making sure the water around the world that billions of people use should not be contaminated to the point it is ruined and cannot be fixed. 'Fracking not only consumes large quantities of freshwater but in addition the water is subsequently contaminated and is highly toxic. The contamination is so severe that the water cannot even be cleaned in a treatment plant.' (Smajovic et al. Fracking Explained: Opportunity or Danger)
Fracking is a super popular way to mine for coal recently. Coal mining should not be contaminating our water supply around the world so badly that the water is ruined forever because it cannot even be cleaned in a treatment center. The water around the world is the homes for many ecosystems for many animals, and if they are contaminated, they are dying, and some animals will not come back because once they are gone, they are gone. Contaminated water does not only affect animals, but it also affects millions of people worldwide.
Coal mining destroys people's ability to have clean water without the water being full of wastes, metals, or toxins. 'The EPA has announced that in 48 states it is unsafe to eat m freshwater fish due to mercury contamination and we are warned not to eat tuna more than once a week. Mercury from power plants has poisoned the oceans too.' (Longsworth The Last Mountain)
Even though this source talks about the contamination from mercury from power plants in the oceans, those power plants get the coal they use to power the plant. Coal mining is not just about the mining portion; it has long affected and more significant effects in the bigger picture. Coal powers most of the world for the energy that many people use daily. People who have access to filtered 'clean' water now have no access to water because coal companies' decisions have contaminated the water they usually would use. They do not care about the effects of the mining of coal.
Destroying the earth to have coal to have energy is not a reason to be destroying mountains, rivers, and ecosystems. 'The Coal River Valley is a very narrow valley and on the right side is Cherry Pond mountain, and it is totally annihilated … the entire Cherry Pond mountain which was, a duplicitous River Mountain at one time has been totally destroyed.' (Longsworth The Last Mountain)
Coal mining has been destroying many mountains around the United States, and there are no reasons for mountains to be getting destroyed. Destruction of the mountains causes the destruction of ecosystems and changes to rivers; these changes can also lead to the extinction of wildlife in the area. Many of these coal companies tell the families of the areas that they are destroying Protective Lies. 'Protective Lies are lies folks tell – often quite serious lies – because they are convinced that the truth would be too damaging.' (Eschholz et al. The Truth About Lying 422-427)
These coal companies around the world are lying and saying that they are doing everything they are supposed to do following the rules set by each country. However, they are not following those rules at all, but they are also not getting fined for ignoring the rules. Many politicians are also unwilling to fine the companies because they are friends with those companies' CEOs. They do not want to cost their friends money that they could be getting to block any legislation related to coal mining reform.
Coal companies are the source of these problems and many other energy issues that are causing issues with global warming and climate change. Coal mining leads to several environmental issues in the region where the mining is happening, including the destruction of the environment, flooding, and water contamination. Coal mining companies need to be held responsible for the environmental issues they are causing all around the United States and the world. If they are not held responsible, then who knows how much of the world will be destroyed from coal mining in the next 5, 10, 20, 50 years from now.