According to the Natural Resources Defense Council, Appalachian community leaders have gone to Congress with the issue of this reckless endangerment of the locals' health in an attempt to bring to light the horrors that have been brought upon the area through strip mining.
Anti-mountaintop removal advocate Maria Gunnoe proclaims, "The spiraling health crises in the central Appalachian coalfields have reached a breaking point...We appeal to the nation to intervene and bring an end to the staggering human costs and mounting death toll from one of the most egregious health and civil rights violations in our times."
Fortunately, there are alternatives to mountaintop removal, such as the Coal River Wind Project. This proposed wind farm would be built on land in Raleigh County previously accounted for as a potential coal extraction site.
The 220 windmills would create enough energy to power more than 150,000 homes in West Virginia. Also, these air turbines will create more than 200 jobs during construction, as well as 40-50 permanent jobs once the plan is instituted.
Even after the coal supply has been exhausted and an area has been "reclaimed," issues such as loss of natural habitat and endangerment of those living nearby raise the question: Is MTR worth it?
No. The destruction of the Appalachian Mountains for the sake of non-renewable resources as well as the complications and dangers that result from strip mining by no means justify the practice.
We live in a time when there are other options for fuel sources than those that require the barbaric demolition of our habitat. We have a responsibility to take care of the Earth, as well as the residents of surface mining areas.
The mountains define who we are as residents of this wild and wonderful state. Without a doubt, we cannot allow mountaintop removal mining to continue. If you are a real West Virginian, you know this to be true.