For years, it was impossible to track the spread of mountaintop removal coal mining in Central Appalachia over the course of time. Appalachian Voices has compiled 30 years of satellite imagery and other data to show how this destructive form of coal mining is gradually getting closer to communities, even as coal production in the region is declining.
Of the thousands of communities at risk, the research identified the top 50 where the adverse effects of mountaintop removal â€” including water pollution, increased health risks, poverty rates and population loss â€” is greatest.
On the map below, use the slider on the right and the zoom function to see the expansion of surface mines over time, and to explore the communities at risk.
A list of the top 50 communities | Data and methodology used in this study