chapter  6
A Crop for Mine Spoils?
WithEdward R. Buckner, J. S. Kring
Pages 9

The recent report by the Secretary of the Interior to the Appalachia Regional Commission (6) on strip and surface mining in Appalachia states that there are 740,000 acres in the Appalachia region that have been disturbed by strip mining and that 31,000 acres are added to this total each year. Approximately three-fourths (548,000 acres) of this is contour stripping which has left over 20,000 miles of the “highwall-spoil bank" contour as a prominent feature of the regional landscape. While this is a relatively small percentage of the total land area (0.6 percent) these disturbances are generally visible over great distances and directly or indirectly cause damage to water and recreational resources many miles from the actual mining sites. Damage to surrounding areas is in the form of increased flood peaks, stream acidification and siltation with resulting damage to fish and the loss of recreational potential due to water pollution and the loss of scenic values.