Mountain Top Removal in Appalachia: What’s in your backyard?

SkyTruth’s new Mountain Top Removal visualization tool is now available to inspect active mining data for 74 counties in Kentucky, West Virginia, Tennessee and Virginia. The website can be accessed at SkyTruthMTR.appspot.com.

The maps leverage tens of thousands of mining footprints, the result of SkyTruth’s mountain top removal (MTR) research. Before expanding to 74 counties, the orginal work included 59 counties and identified an estimated 445,792 acres of new mining over a 30 year period. This data has already allowed outside organizations and research institutions to directly link MTR to downstream water pollution and related environmental destruction, as well as provide input into numerous health studies and predict where coal companies might go next.

By visiting SkyTruthMTR.appspot.com, you can:

  • Click anywhere on the map to see its active mining history.
  • Visualize a timeline of active mining from 1985 through 2015, with zooming available right down to the rooftop.
  • Draw a rectangle or polygon on the map, then see a breakdown of mining in that area by year and as a percentage of the total selected area. Once drawn, shapes can be edited.
  • Click on one of the 74 counties and see the total active mining for that county by year.
  • Use standard Google maps for a baseline, then overlay with one of SkyTruth’s composite images for any year from 1985 through 2015. These images combine the best satellite photos for each year into a single layer.

Active Mining by County, 1985-2015

West Virginia

County Sq Miles Acreage 1985 1990 1995 2000 2005 2010 2015
Boone 504 322658 6022 7291 12395 18663 24094 26392 24520
1.87% 2.26% 3.84% 5.78% 7.47% 8.18% 7.60%
Braxton 517 330904 1 1 2 1 1 1 0
0.00% 0.00% 0.00% 0.00% 0.00% 0.00% 0.00%
Cabell 289 184699 296 232 331 401 346 385 296
0.16% 0.13% 0.18% 0.22% 0.19% 0.21% 0.16%
Clay 344 220460 838 717 1869 3667 4538 4617 3261
0.38% 0.33% 0.85% 1.66% 2.06% 2.09% 1.48%
Fayette 669 428327 3507 4590 5532 4788 5256 5851 5214
0.82% 1.07% 1.29% 1.12% 1.23% 1.37% 1.22%
Greenbrier 1026 656722 1687 2667 2728 2082 1672 2002 2706
0.26% 0.41% 0.42% 0.32% 0.25% 0.30% 0.41%
Kanawha 913 584066 5319 6591 7363 7589 8932 8845 8746
0.91% 1.13% 1.26% 1.30% 1.53% 1.51% 1.50%
Lincoln 440 281358 608 535 1231 3131 3900 5227 5012
0.22% 0.19% 0.44% 1.11% 1.39% 1.86% 1.78%
Logan 456 291882 4711 7502 11617 15342 15911 13389 12469
1.61% 2.57% 3.98% 5.26% 5.45% 4.59% 4.27%
Mason 445 284957 473 700 630 639 611 746 754
0.17% 0.25% 0.22% 0.22% 0.21% 0.26% 0.26%
McDowell 536 342848 3561 3204 3228 5603 5472 6349 6753
1.04% 0.93% 0.94% 1.63% 1.60% 1.85% 1.97%
Mercer 422 269789 557 479 650 722 702 701 771
0.21% 0.18% 0.24% 0.27% 0.26% 0.26% 0.29%
Mingo 425 271892 3574 6425 9440 13173 13310 13020 10881
1.31% 2.36% 3.47% 4.84% 4.90% 4.79% 4.00%
Nicholas 655 419323 3041 6693 6525 7486 9105 11080 7835
0.73% 1.60% 1.56% 1.79% 2.17% 2.64% 1.87%
Pocahontas 943 603797 619 930 829 1570 841 1940 2015
0.10% 0.15% 0.14% 0.26% 0.14% 0.32% 0.33%
Putnam 351 224799 540 522 674 743 784 1006 989
0.24% 0.23% 0.30% 0.33% 0.35% 0.45% 0.44%
Raleigh 610 390716 2365 2310 2752 3888 5452 7500 7619
0.61% 0.59% 0.70% 1.00% 1.40% 1.92% 1.95%
Summers 368 235806 356 308 445 395 520 537 424
0.15% 0.13% 0.19% 0.17% 0.22% 0.23% 0.18%
Webster 557 356552 1258 1388 3519 3976 4811 6348 4986
0.35% 0.39% 0.99% 1.12% 1.35% 1.78% 1.40%
Wyoming 503 321717 2762 2982 2283 5239 6625 6896 5327
0.86% 0.93% 0.71% 1.63% 2.06% 2.14% 1.66%
County Sq Miles Acreage 1985 1990 1995 2000 2005 2010 2015

Kentucky

County Sq Miles Acreage 1985 1990 1995 2000 2005 2010 2015
Bell 362 231484 3998 4958 4116 5440 5150 6148 5096
1.73% 2.14% 1.78% 2.35% 2.22% 2.66% 2.20%
Boyd 162 103859 1179 930 829 868 870 816 786
1.14% 0.90% 0.80% 0.84% 0.84% 0.79% 0.76%
Breathitt 496 317413 7938 8100 9495 11239 594 8985 7355
2.50% 2.55% 2.99% 3.54% 0.19% 2.83% 2.32%
Carter 413 264298 1140 723 642 963 929 957 809
0.43% 0.27% 0.24% 0.36% 0.35% 0.36% 0.31%
Clay 472 302157 4169 2050 2267 2582 2091 2222 2140
1.38% 0.68% 0.75% 0.85% 0.69% 0.74% 0.71%
Clinton 206 131821 112 142 168 360 384 399 427
0.08% 0.11% 0.13% 0.27% 0.29% 0.30% 0.32%
Elliott 236 150845 860 404 244 220 361 432 371
0.57% 0.27% 0.16% 0.15% 0.24% 0.29% 0.25%
Estill 256 164010 525 654 637 648 629 631 639
0.32% 0.40% 0.39% 0.40% 0.38% 0.38% 0.39%
Floyd 396 253732 4101 4999 5267 5582 5091 5568 5037
1.62% 1.97% 2.08% 2.20% 2.01% 2.19% 1.99%
Greenup 355 227162 1017 1477 1203 1115 1419 1080 863
0.45% 0.65% 0.53% 0.49% 0.62% 0.48% 0.38%
Harlan 469 300134 3243 4571 3754 5489 6060 7879 7102
1.08% 1.52% 1.25% 1.83% 2.02% 2.63% 2.37%
Jackson 347 222163 1223 741 515 546 634 730 490
0.55% 0.33% 0.23% 0.25% 0.29% 0.33% 0.22%
Johnson 265 169528 1274 1169 924 1209 1692 1902 1671
0.75% 0.69% 0.55% 0.71% 1.00% 1.12% 0.99%
Knott 353 226208 6049 6880 9521 12541 7056 13019 11285
2.67% 3.04% 4.21% 5.54% 3.12% 5.76% 4.99%
Knox 389 248682 1586 1187 962 1317 1278 1968 1574
0.64% 0.48% 0.39% 0.53% 0.51% 0.79% 0.63%
Laurel 444 284452 3448 1269 1084 1232 1284 1243 1019
1.21% 0.45% 0.38% 0.43% 0.45% 0.44% 0.36%
Lawrence 421 269377 2290 1458 1055 1222 2333 2298 1997
0.85% 0.54% 0.39% 0.45% 0.87% 0.85% 0.74%
Lee 212 135435 630 640 701 564 525 375 353
0.47% 0.47% 0.52% 0.42% 0.39% 0.28% 0.26%
Leslie 405 259372 4544 3850 5475 8136 8551 10205 8857
1.75% 1.48% 2.11% 3.14% 3.30% 3.93% 3.41%
Letcher 340 217405 4761 5154 5305 7991 7012 5517 4465
2.19% 2.37% 2.44% 3.68% 3.23% 2.54% 2.05%
Lewis 496 317299 495 558 365 481 487 517 493
0.16% 0.18% 0.12% 0.15% 0.15% 0.16% 0.16%
Magoffin 310 198142 3032 1465 1495 1869 1691 3730 2984
1.53% 0.74% 0.75% 0.94% 0.85% 1.88% 1.51%
Martin 231 147784 5799 6221 6463 10294 10289 7667 3939
3.92% 4.21% 4.37% 6.97% 6.96% 5.19% 2.67%
McCreary 432 276630 1774 1358 1055 1012 1058 1071 892
0.64% 0.49% 0.38% 0.37% 0.38% 0.39% 0.32%
Menifee 206 132045 171 267 242 215 321 299 257
0.13% 0.20% 0.18% 0.16% 0.24% 0.23% 0.19%
Morgan 384 246009 1374 614 520 512 680 913 726
0.56% 0.25% 0.21% 0.21% 0.28% 0.37% 0.30%
Owsley 199 127155 709 741 542 627 580 803 576
0.56% 0.58% 0.43% 0.49% 0.46% 0.63% 0.45%
Perry 343 219685 8067 10388 11931 15369 1596 16104 11658
3.67% 4.73% 5.43% 7.00% 0.73% 7.33% 5.31%
Pike 790 505304 8470 8679 13987 24058 25448 20373 13869
1.68% 1.72% 2.77% 4.76% 5.04% 4.03% 2.74%
Powell 180 115512 178 342 338 371 406 385 345
0.15% 0.30% 0.29% 0.32% 0.35% 0.33% 0.30%
Pulaski 678 434030 1542 1531 1223 1114 1111 1086 1056
0.36% 0.35% 0.28% 0.26% 0.26% 0.25% 0.24%
Rockcastle 319 204021 1481 810 431 479 388 424 415
0.73% 0.40% 0.21% 0.23% 0.19% 0.21% 0.20%
Rowan 287 183556 111 121 193 302 440 462 355
0.06% 0.07% 0.11% 0.16% 0.24% 0.25% 0.19%
Wayne 485 310457 561 156 173 234 287 325 313
0.18% 0.05% 0.06% 0.08% 0.09% 0.10% 0.10%
Whitley 446 285375 2502 2336 1599 1617 1256 1340 1778
0.88% 0.82% 0.56% 0.57% 0.44% 0.47% 0.62%
Wolfe 223 142802 950 800 1742 1232 904 513 356
0.67% 0.56% 1.22% 0.86% 0.63% 0.36% 0.25%
County Sq Miles Acreage 1985 1990 1995 2000 2005 2010 2015

Tennessee

County Sq Miles Acreage 1985 1990 1995 2000 2005 2010 2015
Anderson 345 221107 316 455 487 490 610 648 521
0.14% 0.21% 0.22% 0.22% 0.28% 0.29% 0.24%
Campbell 499 319473 1206 1142 702 779 955 1295 825
0.38% 0.36% 0.22% 0.24% 0.30% 0.41% 0.26%
Claiborne 442 283094 435 432 448 946 1223 1094 718
0.15% 0.15% 0.16% 0.33% 0.43% 0.39% 0.25%
Cumberland 686 439282 1350 1442 1173 1713 1526 1641 1418
0.31% 0.33% 0.27% 0.39% 0.35% 0.37% 0.32%
Fentress 500 319842 1118 1360 1332 1602 1690 1290 1173
0.35% 0.43% 0.42% 0.50% 0.53% 0.40% 0.37%
Morgan 524 335123 1046 1200 1226 1514 1102 940 1191
0.31% 0.36% 0.37% 0.45% 0.33% 0.28% 0.36%
Overton 436 278734 393 509 591 638 682 831 802
0.14% 0.18% 0.21% 0.23% 0.24% 0.30% 0.29%
Pickett 175 111996 101 87 137 162 197 179 157
0.09% 0.08% 0.12% 0.14% 0.18% 0.16% 0.14%
Putnam 403 258163 329 325 407 490 641 694 727
0.13% 0.13% 0.16% 0.19% 0.25% 0.27% 0.28%
Roane 396 253538 546 583 514 615 711 720 665
0.22% 0.23% 0.20% 0.24% 0.28% 0.28% 0.26%
Scott 534 341784 1922 1608 1081 1244 1260 1262 1119
0.56% 0.47% 0.32% 0.36% 0.37% 0.37% 0.33%
County Sq Miles Acreage 1985 1990 1995 2000 2005 2010 2015

Virginia

County Sq Miles Acreage 1985 1990 1995 2000 2005 2010 2015
Buchanan 505 323299 3609 3320 2946 4818 6497 8034 7206
1.12% 1.03% 0.91% 1.49% 2.01% 2.49% 2.23%
Dickenson 334 213957 1562 1613 1574 2620 2508 2432 2638
0.73% 0.75% 0.74% 1.22% 1.17% 1.14% 1.23%
Lee 438 280567 625 1030 1099 1506 1419 1614 1331
0.22% 0.37% 0.39% 0.54% 0.51% 0.58% 0.47%
Russell 478 305659 1313 1024 1309 2032 1831 1814 1395
0.43% 0.34% 0.43% 0.66% 0.60% 0.59% 0.46%
Scott 540 345410 531 292 642 696 774 688 537
0.15% 0.08% 0.19% 0.20% 0.22% 0.20% 0.16%
Tazewell 521 333400 1135 912 866 1147 1205 1841 1836
0.34% 0.27% 0.26% 0.34% 0.36% 0.55% 0.55%
Wise 413 264483 3122 3557 6484 10749 15587 15944 11851
1.18% 1.34% 2.45% 4.06% 5.89% 6.03% 4.48%
County Sq Miles Acreage 1985 1990 1995 2000 2005 2010 2015