Leveling Appalachia

Leveling Appalachia

An investigation into the devastating environmental and social impacts of mountaintop-removal coal mining during the last two decades. (Yale Environment 360 / MediaStorm)

From the coal industry’s perspective, mountaintop-removal coal mining in West Virginia is a totally legal method of extracting a fossil fuel needed to produce energy in the U.S. without relying on foreign oil. From the perspective of the people whose communities have been destroyed by this practice, however, the explosive process and dumping of debris into stream beds is ruining the landscape, fouling the water supply, and, according to some scientists, obliterating the flora and fauna of one of the most advanced ecosystems in the world.

This balanced report by Yale University’s Environment 360 program and MediaStorm pairs images of heartbreaking environmental damage with statements from politicians and industry spokespersons who basically deny there’s a problem. Opponents point out pollution, flash floods and 2,000 miles of lost streams as evidence, yet their own governor contends that “better planning” is all that is needed.

Environmentalists and residents have banded together to try and stop further exploitation of this scenic and important watershed as the Obama administration reviews mining permits in West Virginia and three other states. The case made against mountaintop-removal mining by this video is compelling.

CHANNEL: Yale Environment 360 / MediaStorm

Length: 20:07

Cinematography and producer: Chad A. Stevens
Photography: Brett Marshall, Daniel Shea, Chad A. Stevens, Vivian Stockman