Argument: Mountaintop mining involves permanent deforestation
"RECLAMATION — While reclamation efforts such as stabilization and revegetation are required for mountaintop removal sites, in practice, state agencies that regulate mining are generous with granting waivers to coal companies. Most sites receive little more than a spraying of exotic grass seed, but even the best reclamation provides no comfort to nearby families and communities whose drinking water supplies have been polluted and whose homes will be threatened by floods for the hundred or thousands of years it will require to re-grow a forest on the mined site."
Testimony of John Pomponio, Director, Environmental Assessment and Innovation Division - U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Mid-Atlantic Region. June 25th, 2009: "EPA's 2002 Landscape-Scale Cumulative Impact Study modeled terrestrial impacts based on past surface mine permit data. These data provide a retrospective examination of the impacts to forest that occurred over the 11-year period from 1992 to 2002. The Study estimates that 595 square miles (380,547 acres) of the forest environment (vegetation and soils) in the study area will be cleared due surface coal mining during this 11-year period. This represents 3.4 percent of the forest area that existed in 1992. Based on a 2003 analysis, the impacts to forest and forest soils have subsequently been projected over the next 10 years. For the entire 22-year period from 1992 to 2013, the estimated forest clearing in the study area would be 1,189 square miles (761,000 acres) or 6.8 percent of the forest that existed in 1992. Should these forest not be restored, invaluable water quality and ecological services will be lost."