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Reviews on Documentary, Websites, and the Fact Book on Mountain Top Removal

5 pages
1222 words
George Washington University
Type of paper: 
Article review
This essay has been submitted by a student. This is not an example of the work written by our professional essay writers.

Exercise One: Documentary

Leveling Appalachia: The Legacy of Mountaintop Removal Mining

What type of images are you shown? What sorts of images are meant to elicit an emotional response?

The images shown are images of the destroyed and bare Appalachian mountaintop. The photos of the mines on top of the mountain and the image of the mountaintop being blown up elicit an emotional response. The pictures of the other parts of the mountain show how much destruction the mining has caused to the mountaintop.

Concentrate on the people in the video (i.e., who are they, what are their jobs?). For each person interviewed, decide if they are for or against mountaintop removal mining. What was the basis of their argument? Did they consider all sides of the argument? Were the arguments based on economic concerns, science, emotion, or something else? For your write-up, choose 2 of these people. You can review the video at home if you need to!

Mike Maynor, Randy Huffman, Jack Spadaro, Chris Hamilton, Dr. Ben Stout, Governor Joe Manchin, Anita Miller, Ken Hechler, Bo Webb or Debbie Jarrell

Jack Spadaro: He is a mining health and safety consultant and a former mine inspector. He is against mountaintop removal mining. He cites damage to the ecosystem, flash flooding and fatalities, coal mine waste and sediment loading of streams and reservoirs as his concerns. He has considered both sides of the argument. His arguments are based on science.

Debbie Jarrell: she is a co-director of Coal River Mountain Watch. She opposes mountaintop removal mining. She argues that it has adverse consequences and that the damage will be permanent. She believes the mountaintop cannot be rehabilitated after mining. Her arguments are based on both science and economics. She considered both sides of the argument. Proponents argue that coal mining creates employment. She claims that green energy creates more and sustainable employment than coal mining.

To help you evaluate mountaintop removal mining, are there any types of people that you'd like to have seen interviewed in this video? What questions might you have wanted to ask them?

I would like to see more victims being interviewed (those who have suffered from the effects other than flooding). I would ask them how serious the harm was. I would also like to see coal mining employees. I would ask them the health risks involved and whether they can pursue other jobs in the green energy sector.

Did your opinion on mountaintop removal mining change after your analysis of the videos presentation?

Before watching the video, I thought mountaintop removal was a great idea. I now think it is a terrible idea and should be stopped.

Exercise Two: Websites

Public Radio & Companion Website-

You can visit the NPR website at home to read the transcript

Public video posted by an individual - of a mine and mine reclamation site

Public Television & Companion Website View the PBS Newhour story : How mountaintop mining affects life and landscape in West Virginia and discuss in groups.

How does the PBS news hour coverage compare to the NPR story. Which site provides more in-depth coverage of the issue? Remember to use specific examples from each source to support your answer.

The PBS news hour coverage about Donald Trump's promise to revamp the coal mining sector relates to the NPR story. It reignites the debate on the issue of mountaintop removal mining. The PBS news gives more in-depth coverage. It includes views of different stakeholders including coal mining employees. The NPR story includes only reports the scientists' views and those of the EPA.

What are the core issues in the mountain top removal debate?


The core issues environmental impacts such as flash flood and avalanches, water pollution and coal mine waste and sediment loading of streams and reservoirs. Other issues include whether the mountaintop can be rehabilitated, unemployment, among other issues.

1.7 How did viewing the helicopter video change your ideas about the coverage you have seen?

The helicopter video took me a whole new level. I have seen coverage on the issue but not to this extent. The video showed clear pictures of what is going on at the mountaintop and the surrounding.

Exercise Three: Print Fact Book

Read the Mountain Top Mining Fact Book attached as PDF and then answer the following questions.

Who produced this fact book? Does that influence how you view the arguments and facts posted in this document?

The National Mining Association produced this fact book. This negatively influences how I view their arguments. I feel that they are looking at the interest of miners and would promote it despite the environmental effects.

How does bias, or conflict of interest, influence what facts are presented? If there is an inherent bias or agenda to one view point (i.e., a document written by an environmental organization, or by an industry group), does this necessarily mean that the information cannot be trusted?

Bias influence facts presented. When one has a conflict of interest, he will present facts that promote that interest. For instance, miners will cite benefits, though facts, and focus less on the adverse effects. However, this does not necessarily mean that the information cannot be trusted.

1.10 What are the essential claims made by this fact book? Were you convinced?

The fact book claims that mountaintop mining creates 14,000 direct jobs and 60,000 indirect jobs. It also claims the mountaintop mining contributes $5 billion directly and $7.5 billion indirectly to the economy. The book also argues that it leads to commercial development in the surrounding areas and that the economy will be significantly affected if it were to stop. It further claims that wildlife prefers rehabilitated habitats to natural habitats. I am not convinced! I believe the alternative (green energy) can create more jobs and contribute even more to the economy.

1.11 What statements in this document could you identify that conflict with what you have read and seen in the other material from the lab?

The claim that elk prefer rehabilitated habitats to natural habitat conflict what I have read and know.

Exercise Four: To do at home

Now, locate other web sites on this topic. Here is an example:

Find at least one other website that presents additional information on the issue and answer the following questions:

1.12 What is the URL, date, and author?

Date: April 6, 201

Author: Rachel Cernansky (of TreeHugger website).

1.13 Summarize what new information the webpage provides.

It listed major banks such as JP Morgan as the biggest financiers. It also reports that the banks have sinced reviewed their policies to limit mountaintop removal coal mining financing.

1.14 Who runs the website? Do they seem to be a reliable source? Do they have a clear agenda?

The website ( is run by Narrative Content Group. They seem to be a reliable source. It won the top sustainability blog in 2007 by Nielsen Netratings. It also made it to the Time Magazine's top 25 blog index in 2009. They have a clear agenda, which is to report sustainability issues.


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