Leveling Appalachia: The Legacy of Mountaintop Removal Mining

Publication Type:

Web Article


Yale Environment 360 (2010)







Mountaintop removal and slickwater drilling for natural gas both have been challenged by experts for the environmental damages that occur. The pollution has been well documented in public testimony and observation and has proceeded without input from peer-reviewed scientific studies, making the people who live near these extraction processes human experiments in methods unproven to be safe in the long term. (Neil Zusman, 2010-11-10.)

During the last two decades, mountaintop removal mining in Appalachia has destroyed or severely damaged more than a million acres of forest and buried nearly 2,000 miles of streams. Leveling Appalachia: The Legacy of Mountaintop Removal Mining, a video report produced by Yale Environment 360 in collaboration with MediaStorm, focuses on the environmental and social impacts of this practice and examines the long-term effects on the region’s forests and waterways.

At a time when the Obama administration is reviewing mining permit applications throughout West Virginia and three other states, this video offers a first-hand look at mountaintop removal and what is at stake for Appalachia’s environment and its people.

Leveling Appalachia: The Legacy of Mountaintop Removal Mining, an e360 video examining the environmental and human impacts of this mining practice, won the award for best video in the 2010 National Magazine Awards for Digital Media. Watch the video.

See: Marsh Fork Elementary: Journey Up Coal River | A Community and Strip Mining

See: Mountaintop Removal (Film)

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See: Bluedaze. Mountain Top Removal for Hydraulic Fracturing Sand