In anticipation of increased mountaintop removal coal mining in Tennessee, environmentalists are taking steps to inform Upper Cumberland residents of the devastating effects of the process.
To raise awareness about mountaintop removal, Tennessee Tech University's chapter of the Student Environmental Action Coalition will screen "The Last Mountain" at 7 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 2, in the Millard Oakley STEM Center, located in Ray Morris Hall 137. Two environmental experts will be on hand to watch and discuss the movie with TTU students and community members.
Over the past 30 years, mountaintop removal coal mining has destroyed more than 500 mountains and buried more than 2,000 miles of rivers and streams across Appalachia, according to Appalachian Voices, an environmental nonprofit with offices in Nashville. More than one million acres, a land mass the size of Delaware, have been leveled by the coal industry in search of thin seams of coal.
This form of strip mining takes miners out of the mines and replaces them with explosives and large earth moving equipment. Several organizations are coming together to try to stop mountaintop removal in Tennessee and other Appalachian states.
The coalition of organizations is pushing for the passage of the Tennessee Scenic Vistas Protection Act — a bill that would ban mountaintop removal coal mining on peaks higher than 2,000 feet.
If it passes, Tennessee would become the first state to ban mountaintop removal.
Tennessee Conservation Voters board member Shelby White and J.W. Randolph, Tennessee Director for Appalachian Voices, will be at the TTU screening to discuss the issue and talk about ways people can get involved in the campaign to stop mountaintop removal mining in the state.
White and Randolph are involved with a coalition of faith-based groups, environmental organizations, university students and community leaders. Their presentation will focus on a range of related topics, including economic impacts of coal in Tennessee and public health and safety issues.
For more information about “The Last Mountain,” visit http://thelastmountainmovie.com/.