No matter what your position on climate change, it's worth watching a video called Leveling Appalachia: The Legacy of Mountaintop Removal Mining.
The video, produced by Yale Environment 360 in collaboration with MediaStorm, focuses on the devastating environmental and social impacts of this coal mining practice and examines the long-term effects on the region's forests and waterways. Operators say the process is used when it's the most efficient to reach coal reserves and remind that many jobs depend on the industry. But when I watched the video and heard the stories of residents, I couldn't help but ask if there isn't a better way.
Last week Sen. Robert Byrd, D.-W.Va., issued a statement critical of mountaintop removal mining, but maintained that no effort to do away with the coal industry could ever succeed in Washington. "Most people understand that America cannot meet its current energy needs without coal, but there is strong bi-partisan opposition in Congress to the mountaintop removal method of mining it," he said. Other reports say momentum against the practice is continuing to build.
Watch the video and see what you think.