Science Mag Says MTR is Destroying Appalachia

Leading stream, health scientists agree mountaintop removal does no good

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While it may seem obvious, especially with coal companies completely burying streams and routinely poisoning drinking water supplies, an article in the scientific journal Science shows clear scientific evidence that mountaintop removal mining destroys streams and poisons communities. The Los Angeles Times today reported on the magazine article, picking up on the urgent conclusion by scientists to halt this mining practice immediately.

This is no surprise to anyone who’s heard of mountaintop removal, but what is exciting about it is that some of the nation’s leading stream and health scientists are making a strong stand in the article for stronger federal oversight of this devastating practice.

The Obama administration has been singing the praises of science ever since they took office nearly a year ago. They pledged to make decisions based on science, not politics. But it seems when it comes to mountaintop removal, it’s still business as usual. Despite scientific evidence that mountaintop removal is causing permanent damage to sensitive ecosystems, just this week the EPA announced it was going to greenlight one of the biggest mountaintop removal mining sites in West Virginia.

The article in Science sends a clear message that current efforts to regulate mountaintop removal mining are woefully inadequate. It’s a message environmentalists, local activists and coal field residents have been shouting for years. But now, with the scientists clearly on board, the EPA and the Obama administration must practice what they preach and base their decisions on other pending mountaintop removal permits on science, not politics.

Here’s hoping that someone over at EPA or in the White House has a subscription to Science.

Jared was the head coach of Earthjustice's advocacy campaign team from 2004 to 2014.