Mountain top removal clears forests and then blows off the tops of mountains to extract the coal close to the earth’s surface. This process removes the top soil and floods streams and creeks with debris, silt, arsenic, and other chemicals which contaminates the ground water. After the mining, the reclamation is minimal, leaving only barren soil that looks like the moon.
Mountaintop mining helps generate 10% of the USA’s coal, following the procedures mercury described. These areas require federal permits in order to be legal. Under the Clinton and Bush administration hundreds of these federal permits were given. However, the EPA and Obama administration are enforcing stricter regulations and are revoking many permits that they believe don’t fall under the new regulations. Some permits are being revoked because the area is beleived to contribute to contiminated stream water.
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