Many wonder how coal companies justify blowing up the oldest mountains on the continent. Is it because it's more profitable for them? Because it employs fewer miners? Nope, according to the coal companies, they are blowing up mountains because the Appalachians need more land for economic development.
We put that theory to the test and found that the promise of "reclaimed" flat land for economic development is a big, flat lie. Two 2009 studies by NRDC and Appalachian Voices reveal that 1.2 million acres, including 500 mountains, have been demolished by coal companies in Kentucky, West Virginia, Virginia and Tennessee. Over 89% of sites are not currently being used for economic development.
But don't take our word for it. See for yourself how mountaintop removal sites are being "reclaimed" on our Reclamation Fail Map.
Follow the links below to navigate to each mountaintop removal site in the map above. You can also download this data set here.