Coal surface mining has heavily altered the hydrological cycle and landscape of the Appalachia causing environmental degradation and contributing to ecosystem damages beyond repair. Surface coal mining in the Appalachian has contributed to the destruction of over 500 mountain tops.
Why is coal so important to the economy of the Appalachians?
“The coal industry provides employment opportunities and income in abundance during good times, but those boom-time opportunities come at the price of lower of overall long-term growth,” the authors found. The paper noted that, not surprisingly, Appalachia’s incomes have been tied rather directly to the price of coal.
What are the environmental concerns in the Appalachian area from coal mining?
The air and water pollution caused by this mining practice, which involves deforesting and tearing off mountaintops to get at the coal, is leading to increases in cardiovascular disease, lung cancer, pulmonary disease, and birth defects, his research shows.
How does using coal affect the economy?
Coal is America’s most abundant energy resource—making up 90 percent of U.S. fossil energy reserves on a Btu basis. … Coal is essential to the U.S. economy, providing affordable electricity to households, businesses, manufacturing facilities, transportation and communications systems, and services throughout our economy.
What are some reasons that coal is dying in Appalachia?
A combination of cheap natural gas from shale fracking and new pollution regulations from the EPA have been elbowing aside coal in the electricity sector.
Why are people poor in Appalachia?
One of the main poverty issues of Appalachia stems from the fact that the employed population of these states make significantly lower amounts of money than the rest of the US. In 2014, the per capita income of the Appalachian region of Kentucky was only $30,308 while the entire US was at $46,049.
What causes Appalachian poverty?
There are many reasons for higher poverty in Appalachia in general and Central Appalachia in particular. Possible causes include a low-paying industry structure, below average education, low household mobility, and remoteness from to cities (Weber et al.
What other problems could the extreme environmental damage caused by the kind of mining done in the Appalachians create?
In Appalachia, mining companies literally blow the tops off mountains to reach thin seams of coal. They then dump millions of tons of rubble into the streams and valleys below the mining sites. Toxic heavy metals such as cadmium, selenium, and arsenic leach into local water supplies, poisoning drinking water.
What are the environmental problems associated with the Appalachian Trail?
Common impacts include vegetation loss and compositional changes, soil compaction, erosion, and muddiness, exposure of plant roots, trail-widening, and the proliferation of visitor-created side trails.
What are the environmental impacts of room and pillar mining?
Strip mining destroys landscapes, forests and wildlife habitats at the site of the mine when trees, plants, and topsoil are cleared from the mining area. This in turn leads to soil erosion and destruction of agricultural land. When rain washes the loosened top soil into streams, sediments pollute waterways.
What is the environmental impact of coal?
Environmental impacts associated with using coal as an energy source are particulate emission, ground level ozone, smog and acid rain. Coal and fuel oil combustion emit fly ash particles into the atmosphere, which contribute to air pollution problems.
Why is coal bad for the environment?
Climate change is coal’s most serious, long-term, global impact. Chemically, coal is mostly carbon, which, when burned, reacts with oxygen in the air to produce carbon dioxide, a heat-trapping gas. … Consequences of global warming include drought, sea level rise, flooding, extreme weather, and species loss.
How does getting coal affect the community?
Emissions from burning coal
Nitrogen oxides (NOx), which contribute to smog and respiratory illnesses. Particulates, which contribute to smog, haze, and respiratory illnesses and lung disease. Carbon dioxide (CO2), which is the primary greenhouse gas produced from burning fossil fuels (coal, oil, and natural gas)
What is the issue facing many mining companies in Appalachia?
Coal mining production in Appalachia declined from 1990 to 2015, but there is some debate over why. Cited factors include a rising demand for clean energy, environmental policies and regulations set forth by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), and globalization.
What happened to the coal industry?
Coal mining in the United States is an industry in transition. Production in 2019 was down 40% from the peak production of 1,171.8 million short tons (1,063 million metric tons) in 2008. Employment of 43,000 coal miners is down from a peak of 883,000 in 1923. … In 2015, the U.S. exported 7.0 percent of mined coal.
How coal is extracted from coal mines?
Coal miners use two primary methods to remove coal
In surface mining, large machines remove the topsoil and layers of rock known as overburden to expose coal seams. Mountaintop removal is a form of surface mining where the tops of mountains are dynamited and removed to access coal seams.