How is mountaintop removal legal?
Disposal of excess overburden associated with mountaintop removal mining has generally been permitted under Nationwide Permit 21 (NWP 21), which authorizes discharges from surface coal mining activities that result in no more than minimal impacts (site-specifically and cumulatively) to the aquatic environment.
How does mining affect mountains?
In Appalachia, mining companies literally blow the tops off mountains to reach thin seams of coal. … This destructive practice, known as mountaintop-removal mining, sends carcinogenic toxins like silica into the air, affecting communities for miles around.
Why is coal found in the mountains?
The sustained geologic pressure and heat involved in creating the mountains baked and compressed the peat from those old bogs into seams of coal from a few inches to several feet thick. First mined in the 19th century, Appalachian coal dominated the U.S. market for 100 years.
Which type of mining is likely the least harmful to the environment?
Placer mining can be less damaging to the environment than surface mines, as the sediment is returned to the water after the minerals have been extracted.