Mountaintop Mining in Kentucky

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MountaintopMining in Kentucky

Mountaintopremoval is the process of getting rid of the land on a summit withthe main goal of exposing and extracting of coal seams. Kentucky isone state that carries out these activities on the eastern andwestern stretches of the Appalachian Mountains. This technique hascoal company’s first clearing trees and vegetation from themountain. Afterward, millions of pounds of explosives that help withthe removal of about 400 to 600 feet of mountain soil. Thengiantearth moving machines then remove the exposed coal and transport themto the processing plants. To Kentucky and its residents, mountaintopremoval is good since it is less expensive, helps dealing with anenergy crisis and it is more efficient while it has disadvantages aresuch as it leads to environmental destruction, health and safetyhazards and the fact that it makes little impact on the lives ofresidences.

Miningby mountaintop is good for Kentucky in a number of various ways. Thatis through the characteristics associated, and that is:


Ascompared to other mining methods, mountaintop removal is very cheap.Kentucky state government spends around one hundred million dollarson the mining activity. These involve the buying of explosives andearth moving machines that play the major role in the extractionprocess. These cuts on cost on factors such hiring additionalworkers. The company does not have to pay monthly salaries as well ashealth insurance, therefore, making Kentucky spend this cash on othersectors of the economy (Hendryx, 80)


Thismining process has helped the states extraction process to be moreefficient. This is because it saves on time for the process takesplace in hours. It also protects miners since they don’t have to gounderground to collect the coal and expose themselves to differentforms of injuries (Ross, Brian&amp Emily,2070)

EnergyCrisis is Kept at Bay

TheUnited States being the leading exporter and consumer of oil showshow much there is need to save on that. Kentucky alongside othersection of the country are among the fifty percent of the totalpopulation in the United States of America accessing electricitygenerated from coal power plants. This, therefore, shows how muchmountaintop removal has brought a lot of good to Kentucky in dealingwith energy crisis.

Thesemining process has also proved to have some disadvantages including:


Thelarge trucks and earth moving machines in the area are the leadingcause of harm on the environment for they pollute the air as well asthe natural terrain. The explosives also cause noise pollution andwould harm birds and animals in the Appalachian Mountains. Thedumping of the soil on waterways such as rivers and streams makeKentucky’s environment very polluted (Rosner, 650).

Exposureof Kentucky Residents to Health and Safety Hazards

Eventhough using explosive prevent citizens at the area from beingexposed to collapsed tunnels, the process been associated with a lotof accidents. The explosive are often faulty and cause harm as wellas death in some other instances. The water where soil depositiontakes place and the air blast are among the various factors thatexpose the citizens of Kentucky to health problems (Miller, 22).These is clearly evident since people living near this mines haveheath complications than those staying a little far from the regions.The various health conditions reported involve chronic lungs,hypertension, kidney diseases, lung cancer and heart disease as wellas other infection at a high rate (Hendryx, Michael &amp Juhua,270).

Thereis Little Benefit to the Residents

Millionand at times billions of dollars have been taken from the coal miningstates. Kentucky is one of the major suppliers of coal as the UnitedStates of America. This mineral is important, and that can be seenfrom the countries value of coal concerning the need to use energy.However, it can be seen that Kentucky is the fifth poorest state inthe country despite how much is produced in the area. Profits ofmining are taken elsewhere, and a small portion of it is reinvestedin this community (Mitiny).With increased mechanization, it is alsoevident how much there are few individuals around the area benefitingfrom this mining process since the company is cutting on laborexpenses. This is considered the biggest disadvantage of the miningby mountaintop removal to Kentucky as a state (Sanders).

Inconclusion, it is evident that the process of mining by mountaintopremoval has some advantages as well as disadvantages to Kentucky. Thestate enjoys the fact that the mining procedure is less expensive,keeps energy crisis at bay and maintains efficiency in the wholeprocess. There are also disadvantages involving environmentaldestruction, less impact to Kentucky’s economy and safety hazards.Considering all these information l believe the mining process needto have different ways through which they make it beneficial to thewhole country as well, as the local area that the activity is takingplace. The main issue of concern, therefore, is for the government,the coal companies and residents in the mining areas look for waysthey enjoy the benefits and at the same time limiting the associateddisadvantages.


Hendryx,Michael, and Juhua Luo. &quotAn examination of the effects ofmountaintop removal coal mining on respiratory symptoms and COPDusing propensity scores.&quot&nbspInternationaljournal of environmental health research&nbsp25.3(2015): 265-276.

Hendryx,Michael. &quotPersonal and family health in rural areas of Kentuckywith and without mountaintop coal mining.&quot&nbspTheJournal of Rural Health&nbsp29.s1(2013): s79-s88.

Miller,Evan. &quotEnvironmental Degradation Going Unregulated: Non-PointSource Pollution of Small Freshwater Streams Due to Mountain-TopRemoval Surface Mining in the Appalachian HighlandStates.&quot&nbspEnvironmentalLaw&nbsp11(2014): 22.

Mitiny,Brian. Personal Interview. 1 Jan. 2017.

Rosner,David. &quotBlowing the Lid off Mountaintops.&quot&nbspMilbankQuarterly&nbsp92.4(2014): 648-651.

Ross,Matthew RV, Brian L. McGlynn, and Emily S. Bernhardt. &quotDeepimpact: Effects of mountaintop mining on surface topography, bedrockstructure, and downstream waters.&quot&nbspEnvironmentalscience &amp technology&nbsp50.4(2016): 2064-2074.

Sanders,Philip. Personal Interview. 2 Feb. 2017.