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Natural Awakenings National

Government Loophole: Appalachian Mountains Disappearing

More than 800 square miles of mountains are being destroyed in West Virginia, Kentucky, Virginia and Tennessee as mining companies blast their way deeper into diminishing coal seams. The summits of more than 470 named mountains already have been leveled, and corporations have buried and polluted 1,200 miles of mountain valley streams–headwaters for fresh water supplies along the Eastern seaboard. More than seven percent of Appalachian forests have been clearcut in the decimation. Unless stopped, current mountaintop removal rates will destroy more than 1.4 million acres by the end of the decade, an area roughly equal to the state of Delaware.

The actions threaten wildlife in this once biodiverse region, as well as local and downstream residents. Appalachian Voices, an organization that brings people together to solve regional environmental issues, reports that problems began in 2002 when the Bush administration changed the 1977 Clean Water Act to allow blasted debris to be dumped as fill.

To get involved, visit, contact [email protected] or call 1-828-262-1500.

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