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Landscape legacy

Acid mine drainage continues to affect waterways in Northeast Pennsylvania’s anthracite coal region.


March 27, 2013

Across America, growing numbers of people are becoming aware of the costs and impacts associated with meeting our country’s energy needs through continuing dependence on fossil fuels. In Pennsylvania, we need look no farther than the anthracite coal region of Northeast Pennsylvania to see evidence of the lasting legacy of coal extraction.

In addition to the economic devastation that has followed the collapse of that industry, its environmental impacts are still stunningly visible today. Acid mine drainage continues to redden regional waterways, while dark culm banks bearing little vegetation frame the valleys and dust-stained homes below. These discarded landscapes are further impacted by a profound amount of litter that prevails not only along rural back roads, but throughout the struggling towns.

If there is anything to be learned from the Keystone State as the people of the Upper Delaware River region make decisions about their energy future, it is that the actions we take now are creating our legacy.