Mountaintop Removal Coal Mining by Jenifer Garlitz

$14.95 / Perfectbound
ISBN: 9781608444045
32 pages
Also available at fine
bookstores everywhere

 

Excerpt from the Book

   Would you choose to live in a war zone? If you live near a mountaintop removal coal mine site, you might feel like you live next to a battlefield. Families living near mining sites have to put up with the noise and vibrations from frequent explosions. Sometimes these explosions are about as close as the length of three soccer fields from their homes. Flying rocks from mining were so dangerous to families in Pike County, Kentucky, that many families had to leave their homes.

 atom bomb Every week, coal companies set off explosives equal to the power of an atomic bomb to blow away the Appalachian Mountains.

 

   

 Before coal is transported on trains, it is washed and processed. The leftover water from this is called coal sludge or coal slurry, which is stored in huge sludge ponds. The coal sludge contains water, coal dust, clay, and harmful metals including mercury, arsenic, and lead. when sludge ponds leak, the people who live nearby end up drinking toxic water. 

   Sometimes the dams holding the sludge in the toxic ponds break, resulting in millions of gallons of sludge dumped into valleys and streams. A sludge dam collapsed in Kentucky in 2000, when noxious sludge flowed into the streams that branch out from The Big Sandy River. The Environmental Protection Agency called this "The biggest environmental disaster ever in the southeastern United States." On December 22, 2008, a sludge dam broke and let loose a huge wall of muck from a power plant sludge pond in Tennessee. Twenty-six housed were destroyed, leaving families without a place to live. The Emory River was also polluted with sludge.

   

 

 

  Kenny Stroud and his son have to live with toxic tap water at their home in Mingo County, West Virginia