“What we do to the land, we do to the people.”

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Key Facts

  • People living near mountaintop mining have cancer rates of 14.4% compared to 9.4% for people elsewhere in Appalachia
  • The rate of children born with birth defects is 42% higher in mountaintop removal mining areas
  • The public health costs of pollution from coal operations in Appalachia amount to a staggering $75 billion a year

About this Map

  • This map allows you to explore human impacts of mountaintop removal coal mining at the county level. Data was gathered directly from sources cited in peer-reviewed studies that lump together data from counties or congressional districts with similar characteristics, like coal production or mining. This tool is intended as a complement and not a substitute for the study conclusions.
    [ View the individual studies. ]

There’s a common saying in Appalachia: what we do to the land, we do to the people. Recently, 21 peer-reviewed scientific studies have confirmed the truth of those words. Not only has mountaintop removal permanently destroyed more than 500 Appalachian mountains, but people living near the destruction are 50% more likely to die of cancer and 42% more likely to be born with birth defects compared with other people in Appalachia.

Data used in these studies are presented in the interactive map below and summarized here. Select any of the 10 regional data sets from the drop-down menu to begin exploring the health and socioeconomic consequences of mountaintop removal in Appalachia, or click on a county to see a detailed summary at the local level.

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Appalachian Voices  •  Coal River Mountain Watch  •   Heartwood  •  Keeper of the MountainsKentuckians for the Commonwealth 

Ohio Valley Environmental Coalition  •   Statewide Organizing for Community eMpowermentSierra Club Environmental Justice

Southern Appalachian Mountain Stewards  •   SouthWings  •  Stay Project  •   West Virginia Highlands Conservancy

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