Underground coal mining has all but disappeared in West Virginia, after 200 years of nonstop mining. Surface mining, or mountaintop mining, has taken its place. The method has fundamentally changed the landscape of Central Appalachia, in large part because it removes the tops of mountains. Scientists are concerned about the environmental effects of surface mining due to the chemicals that are released into the air and streams when mountain rock is crushed in the mining process. President Donald Trump has promised to bring back mining jobs and has rolled back environmental regulations, including a stream protection rule put in place near the end of President Barack Obama’s administration.
May 5, 2017 video and resource materials from PBS NewsHour.