The Ohio-based folk band Magnolia Mountain has just released a new music video documenting the environmental and human impact of mountaintop removal coal mining. The song, “The Hand of Man,” was released as part of a new 21-track album with bands from Indiana, Kentucky, Ohio and West Virginia performing songs about protecting the Appalachian Mountains and surrounding communities from destructive coal mining practices.
Mountaintop removal mining is exactly what it sounds like: Explosives are used to to blow up mountains in order to access coal reserves, thus forcing rocks and soil into valleys and increasing concentrations of mercury and arsenic in water supplies. According to researchers from Washington State University and West Virginia University, communities located near mountaintop mining sites have seen double the amount of birth defects than the national rate. To date, almost 3,000 mountain ridges have been blown apart to access coal.