More than 500 mountains have been destroyed by mountaintop removal coal mining. Watch this video about mountaintop removal, including excerpts from the documentary Kilowatt Ours, featuring Woody Harrelson and a soundtrack featuring an original recording of “Blowin’ in the Wind,” sung by Willie Nelson. (08:23)
Special thanks to the Ohio Valley Environmental Coalition. Featured in this video is their Funeral for the Mountains, which they organized with the West Virginia Highlands Conservancy. Additional thanks to Jeff Barrie for donating footage from his documentary Kilowatt Ours.
The bulk of our images are available for use in non-profit or non-commercial projects. To acquire formal permission to use an image, please submit a multimedia request (NOTE: students seeking images for unpublished school projects do not need to submit a formal request).
Maps and GIS
Mountaintop removal coal mining is changing the American landscape on a scale that is hard to comprehend unless you see it from the air. Anyone who has ever flown in a small aircraft over southern West Virginia or eastern Kentucky will never forget the experience of seeing the massive scale of destruction – mountain after mountain blown up and dumped into valleys as far as the eye can see.
Appalachian people working to save their communities long dreamed of a way to fly reporters, decision-makers, and thousands of Americans over the Appalachian coalfields to see this destruction first hand. The collection of mapping resources below are our best attempts to approximate that tour.