CLIMATE GROUND ZERO
WEST VIRGINIA 2010
Climate Ground Zero is the name of one, among many organizations fighting Mountaintop (MTR) removal in Appalachia. MTR is a coal mining practice where the top of mountains are blown-up in order to uncover coal seems. The earth from the mountaintop is then dumped in nearby valleys, creating a flat area called a valley fill. Dynamite blasts are so strong that can crack the foundations and walls of nearby houses. It has been estimates that this type of mining dries up an average of 100 wells a year and contaminates water.
The quality and availability of drinking water is a key concerns for local minefield communities. Thousands of square kilometers in the Appalachia are now and destroyed due to MTR.
The Twilight Mountaintop Removal mine site as seen from a Southwings fly over.
From their website : Southwings provides experiential understanding of environmental challenges and opportunities for conservation. We provide a means to educate public and elected officials, media, community leaders, researchers and conservation organizations."
The Marsh Fork Elementary School in Sundial has been a point of great debate. The school is located 400 yards down slope from a mountaintop removal mine. On the mining site above the school, operated by Massey Energy, lies the Shumate sludge impoundment. With 2.8 billion gallons of coal sludge held back by a 385-foot-high earthen dam, it is one of West Virginia’s largest impoundments.