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Mountaintop Mining Research

Mountaintop mining is a practice where the tops of mountains are removed, allowing for almost complete recovery of coal seams while reducing the number of workers required to a fraction of what conventional methods require. Mountaintop mining can involve removing 500 feet or more of the summit to get at the buried seams of coal. The earth from the mountaintop is then moved into neighboring valleys.

EPA research on mountaintop mining examines the impacts of mining on headwater streams and other water resources near mining sites. This research lends scientific support to guidance documents for land managers to provide for mining flexibility while protecting the environment and public health.


Additional Resources

Surface Coal Mining in Appalachia