Both of these extraction methods are extremely destructive, and it would be difficult to say which one is worse. Mountaintop removal destroys ancient mountains and the habitats of animals. Additionally, it contaminates the drinking water and can have dangerous effects on various species, including human inhabitants of the region.
Tar sands operations leave behind toxic ponds of water called tailing ponds. These can contain napthenic acids, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, heavy metals and other cancer-causing matter, which have deleterious effects on waterways, aquatic life forms and people. Just being in the water can kill fish, and the sticky oil in it can immobilize other wildlife and contribute to their deaths.
Both forms of resource extraction should be stopped in order to conserve the health of the water, soil and life of the planet.
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