VT Research: Environmental Tolls from Area Coal Mining

6 10 2010

Although the Obama administration and the EPA just started tackling the water pollution issues associated with coal mining, several researchers at VT have been working on these issues for decades. Both the Clinch and Powell River watersheds are rich in biodiversity. These unique, local areas serve as the basis for researching sustainable solutions related to forestry management and mining reclamation. This research is essential for ensuring environmental protection so long as coal mining continues in Appalachia.

However, it is the job of our local, state, and national governments to use these valuable lessons to protect our air, land, water, and public health. Numerous studies show that coal mining, both surface and underground, can cause cancer and destroy irreplaceable ecosystems. Virginia Tech has funded and supported both sides of the “coal debate:” pro-longing our dependence on coal and cleaning up after the extraction, burning, and disposal processes. Why not research, invest, and lead in renewable technology? Coal is a finite resource. Wind and solar and geothermal are not. Coal pollutes and creates widespread health issues. Wind turbines, solar panels, and energy efficiency efforts are clean and safe.

VT Beyond Coal supports the research conducted by the University to lessen coal’s impacts on the environment. But, if the University truly wants to solve these known pollution problems it should promote more alternative energy options on campus.

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