West Virginia commonly renounced as a beautiful piece of Appalachia, with little hollers and small towns tucked away in the mountains and their landscapes. A coal miner state but also known for many other natural gases like timber, oil, and gas. Threw out history many techniques have been used to capture these valuable natural resources the beautiful state possessed. These natural resources sparked an economics, social, and political interest in the state. These trends at the time served greatly to not only the state, but to the nation as a whole. The misuse and abuse of coal and mining have taken great effect on the mountains and the state of West Virginia. Mountain top removal, unclaimed strip mines, and clear cuts in the beautiful hills of West Virginia have made a social, economical, and environmental stigmata for the state.

At the time of industrialization the amount of coal removed from the state set a standard for modern coal companies. Harvard trained geologist and editor, Bryon King of Outstanding Investments and Energy& Scarcity Investor claims that West Virginia is nearing its maximum production rate of coal. Leading the nation as the second most coal producing state he explains what he says to be, “ruinous environmental practices”, are taking place to obtain this coal. Recently environmentalist and many West Virginia residents disclaim these practices and techniques used to obtain this precious resource mainly due to the damage done to the people of West Virginia.

Coal companies found all throughout West Virginia practice mountain top removal, generally speaking the southern region of the state, Kanawha County and surrounding counties are and have been suffering greatly from these practice. The use of explosives to expose the coal leaves contaminates the air and soil. The land is usually treated with grass seeds but it truly looses the beautiful forested mountains and looks more like a hilly prairie. Coal companies try to reclaim these sites by making things like gold courses. The removal of the vegetation and soil also ruin the structure of soil and can cause movement in the earth crust like landslides. Over all MTP is not aesthetically appealing to former West Virginia residents that know the states true beauty.

The destruction does not stop there with little knowledge of how much damage they were actually doing; coal companies have contaminated and ruin many well and drinking water. It was found around 1980 that rain and ground water draining from these mines is highly acidic. Making the water unpleasant and unhealthy to drink unless it was treated. The damage done to nature and its natural beauty has made it pay back.

Paybacks work in funny way, that is, you might not always get one and you do not know get one. In the case of MTR it has become a cancer throughout the state ruining its true beauty and also ruining the economy. The misuse and abuse of coal production has been progressively being competed against by other natural resources. With the rate of employment declining due to commercialism poverty has stricken the wild and wonderful West Virginia. Future jobs and employment for the state have learned from the mistakes of their past.

This is a guest post by Tyler Milburn, a student at WVU

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