The mention of mountaintop removal in the first video brought to mind the documentary The Last Mountain from 2011 about the struggles in West Virginia to end the practice. Wondering if anything had changed since then, I searched and found this article from May this year, entitled We still blow up mountains to mine coal: Time to end the war on Appalachia. It states that this year ‘the West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection celebrated Earth Day by rubber-stamping a new strip-mining permit for an out-of-state coal company, slated to destroy 1,085 acres of forested ridges and wreak havoc for neighboring communities for the next eight years, despite decades of protest by local citizens and reams of shocking health studies on heightened cancer, heart and birth defect rates associated with mountaintop removal mining dust.’
It goes on to state that ‘Two days after Earth Day applause, the Department of Energy quietly awarded millions of dollars “to boost the economic potential of coal and power plant communities,” and subsidize “critical mineral extraction from coal and associated waste streams,” as well as widely debunked carbon capture and storage schemes.’
It’s interesting that the US government is still seeking to invest in coal at the same time as telling other countries to stop, with the Secretary of State recently warning ‘When countries continue to rely on coal for a significant amount of their energy, or invest in new coal factories, or allow for massive deforestation, they will hear from the United States and our partners about how harmful these actions are’
And Canada? Alberta’s provincial government wants a new ‘coal rush’. Alberta does have a ban on mountaintop removal, but it applies only 'if the top of a mountain is “completely” removed’. Other articles on Alberta’s idea of when mountaintop removal isn’t mountaintop removal, specifically concerning the Grassy Mountain Coal Project, can be read here and here. I’m fairly surprised coal is still being developed in Canada, although I’m less surprised Australia’s richest citizen (and climate change denier) Gina Rinehart is behind these plans.