Mountaintop Removal Roadshow comes to AB Tech Nov. 17

A public event at A-B Tech’s Simpson Auditorium November 17 will examine the environmentally destructive practice of mountaintop removal mining in Appalachia. The Mountaintop Removal Road Show features a graphic 20-minute slide show about the impacts of mountaintop removal on neighboring communities and the environment, using recent aerial photos of decapitated Appalachian mountains. The program will begin at 12:30 p.m.

The Road Show has been shown over 700 times in 22 states since 2003 – including at over 200 large and small universities such as Yale, Duke, and Vanderbilt, plus many church, community and civic organizations.

The mining process known as mountaintop removal involves removing large quantities of soil and rock to expose underlying coal seams. The excess rock and soil are often dumped into the adjacent valley and its streams, resulting in wholesale alteration of entire watersheds and reports of illness in nearby residents who come into contact with affected streams or are exposed to airborne toxins and dust.

A 2009 analysis by the environmental group Appalachian Voices shows that nearly 1.2 million acres (10 percent of Central Appalachia) have been surface-mined for coal. This study revealed that more than 500 mountains have been severely impacted or destroyed by mountaintop removal coal mining. The study was based on aerial and mining permit data from 2008 .

Presenter Dave Cooper is a resident of Lexington, Ky. After 20 years working as a mechanical engineer in various industries, most recently at the 3M plant in Kentucky that makes Post-it Notes, he decided to devote his full attention to environmental issues after seeing a mountaintop removal mine on Kayford Mountain, W.Va. Cooper has worked as a coalfield organizer for the Ohio Valley Environmental Coalition (OVEC). He is currently on a national speaking tour to educate communities across America about mountaintop removal.

There is no charge for the presentation; donations to defray gas and travel expenses are appreciated since the roadshow is produced and offered by volunteers.

— Susan Andrew, Green Scene Reporter

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