Mountaintop Mining: Background on Current Controversies

Mountaintop Mining: Background on Current Controversies. Congressional Research Service, Library of Congress. Claudia Copeland. April 20, 2015.

Mountaintop removal mining involves removing the top of a mountain in order to recover the coal seams contained there. This practice occurs in six Appalachian states (Kentucky, West Virginia, Virginia, Tennessee, Pennsylvania, and Ohio). It creates an immense quantity of excess spoil (dirt and rock that previously composed the mountaintop), which is typically placed in valley fills on the sides of the former mountains, burying streams that flow through the valleys. Mountaintop mining is regulated under several laws, including the Clean Water Act (CWA) and the Surface Mining Control and Reclamation Act (SMCRA).

[PDF format, 21 pages, 289.81 KB].

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