30 Years of Mountain Top Removal in Logan County, WV

Last Friday, I posted a blog about our historical map showing the cumulative impact of mountain top removal coal-mining activity. At John’s request, I have begun using this data set to assess the expansion of observable mountain top removal (MTR) mining footprint since 2005, when the data set was last updated. I’ve used Logan County, WV as my test sample.


According to the original analysis approximately 1,200 acres of Logan County was affected by MTR mining techniques in 1976. In 1985, approximately 500 additional acres of land was affected, an additional 9,100 acres in 1995 and 7,700 acres more in 2005. That makes a total of 18,500 acres directly impacted by mining operations as of 2005.  

How much has changed? Utilizing high-resolution aerial imagery from 2011 — now viewable in Google Earth– I’ve mapped out the newly affected areas. Those areas totaled 4,500 acres, a 24% increase since 2005.