Award of Excellence
"THE HUMAN TOLL: MOUNTAINTOP REMOVAL MINING"
Children play in a mountain stream in front of their home that sits near mountaintop removal sites in eastern Kentucky. Miles of streams have been contaminated by the run-off from mountaintop removal sites: as the rainwater runs down the now-bare mountains, it picks up heavy metals exposed from the blasting, including selenium, that then get into the mountain streams. One study associates selenium with deformities; fish larvae found in a downstream reservoir have curved spines and both eyes on one side of their bodies. In addition to contaminating mountain streams, mountaintop removal mining has buried close to 2,000 miles of streams across Appalachia.