Mountaintop removal coal mining removes a substantial portion of the top of a mountain, eliminating all natural ecosystems that existed there previously. Although a portion of the mountain is left standing, that area will be affected too because all the rubble and debris from the mountaintop has to go somewhere. Often this debris is dumped into a nearby valley, where it clogs or pollutes mountain streams and further damages ecosystems. Mountaintop removal mining is perhaps the most environmentally destructive practice occuring in the United States today, and has done irreparable damage to hundreds of mountains in the eastern US already.
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