Science has spoken: Blowing up mountain tops is bad for mountains. Help end the madness!

Today, bloggers are banding together in a response to a "Social Media Call to Action" to bring attention to the current terrible practice of mountaintop removal mining and its financing, dominated largely by JP Morgan Chase. Rainforest Action Network are the organizers behind the effort and outline ways in which we can effect change to put an end to this practice.  

In an article published in the January 8, 2010 issue of Science, one of the world's most respected peer-reviewed scientific journals, twelve scientists from institutions around the country outlined the significant human health and ecological impacts of mountaintop coal mining (the current practice in which Appalachian peaks are blasted off to obtain coal, rather than older strip mining or seam mining methods), and conclude by calling for a ban on the practice.

In the most comprehensive study on the effects of mountaintop removal coal mining to date, the paper describes how the resulting pollutants get dumped into the surrounding valleys and streams, obliterating the ecosystem. In addition: "Adult hospitalizations for chronic pulmonary disorders and hypertension are elevated as a function of county-level coal production, as are rates of mortality; lung cancer; and chronic heart, lung, and kidney disease." The illnesses and increase in mortality includes women and children, so the incidence " not simply a result of the direct occupational exposure of predominantly male coal miners."

The conclusion of the paper states: "...The science is so overwhelming that the only conclusion one can reach is that mountaintop mining needs to be stopped."

If mountaintop removal sounds bad, but difficult to fully imagine, watching the following video of the practice and its resulting effects will convince you of just how terrible this practice is for our environment, not to mention how senselessly inefficient. To use Stephen Colbert's analogy (seen in the video at the bottom of this post), this practice of obtaining coal from mountains is akin to filling a cavity by blasting off the top of the skull and drilling through the brain. There is most certainly a better way to obtain energy than to obliterate our beautiful 300 billion year old mountains and all of the life that's supported by them.

What can you do? A LOT....! In addition to signing up at Rainforest Action Network and adding your name to the list of thousands who oppose mountaintop removal mining, I recommend the following:

1) Use this form on the Sierra Club website to tell the White House Council on Environmental Quality that no more mountaintop mining permits should be issued (the website address is:
2) Sign the petition at to tell Congress to pass the Clean Water Protection Act, which would protect our waters from being filled with millions of tons of waste from mountaintop removal mining.
3) Forward these two forms to everyone you know and urge them to take a minute (it only takes one!) to add their name to these petitions
4) Learn more about this practice and what you can do about it at:
5) Forward this post to anyone and everyone you know to help spread the word about this destructive practice and that with enough grassroots action, we can help end this madness.

For an entertaining take on the subject, Stephen Colbert interviewed the lead author of the paper, Dr. Margaret Palmer, in his inimitably incisive way, and highlights the lunacy of the current practice:

The Colbert ReportMon - Thurs 11:30pm / 10:30c
Coal Comfort - Margaret Palmer
Colbert Report Full EpisodesPolitical HumorSkate Expectations


  1. Millions of citizens speaking softly results in one very loud voice, and if that one voice is directed at the U.S. Congress it can stop mountaintop removal coal mining in Appalachia. Please contact your Representative and Senators, urge them to cosponsor & support the Clean Water Protection Act (HR 1310), and the Appalachia Restoration Act (S 696). They are blowing up our mountains, and there oughta be a law!

  2. Thank you, Lenny, for stopping by and taking the time to comment. You are very right about the power of the people, if we make our voices heard. Thank you for the addition of the Appalachia Restoration Act (S 696), currently a bill in the US Senate. For more information on this bill and how you can send an email, letter, or make a phone call to your representative to urge them to support the bill, click here: