I see the mountaintop removal of coal in the U.S. as equivalent to the environmental destruction wrought by the Alberta tar sands in my own country. According to the Rainforest Action Network:
Mountaintop removal (MTR) coal mining is one of America’s worst environmental crimes. Every day, across Appalachia, the coal industry literally blows the tops off the mountains: clear-cutting forests, wiping out natural habitats and poisoning rivers and drinking water. Not only are these mountains lost forever, but the heritage and the health of families across the region are being sacrificed. For a mere 7 percent of the nation’s coal, the tradeoff does not add up.
MTR is a mining practice where explosives are used to remove the tops of mountains and expose the seams of coal that lie beneath. It is estimated the explosive equivalent of a Hiroshima bomb is detonated every week in Appalachia for the practice.
Before mining can begin, tracts of deciduous forest are clearcut (often burned or sometimes illegally dumped into valley fills). During the last two decades, mountaintop removal mining in Appalachia has destroyed or severely damaged more than a million acres of forest; this unique hardwood forest is some of the most biologically diverse in North America.
This “Country Roads” parody video is via ClimateProgress.org
To learn more, and take action, go to the Rainforest Action Network‘s “Mountain Pledge” page
For background info and analysis go to BuryCoal.com