Acid mine drainage
Many of the cities and states which fostered our Industrial Revolution grew to prominence because they were situated on rich coal deposits. Coal mining, including surface mining, was common in Pennsylvania, West Virginia and throughout the Appalachian region. However, many of these mines were improperly abandoned when they stopped producing, leaving behind residual waste pits and piles of debris tailings exposed to the elements. Sulfuric Acid is created when water and air oxidize the metal sulfides in the surrounding rock or tailings of coal and metal mines. This acidic compound kills most organic life as it seeps into the ground and drains into lakes and streams. Also, since many coal mines were situated below sea level, pumps were required to remove water that accumulated in these mines when they were producing. This pumping was halted after these mines closed but the acidic water that filled many underground caverns is now migrating into our waterways. Environmentalists say the formation of sulfuric acid is unavoidable and irreversible once acid-generating rock is crushed and exposed to moisture and oxygen. This process can continue for thousands of years until the sulfide minerals in the rock are exhausted. Roman-era mines have been discovered which are still producing acid drainage. Experts say the high cost of cleaning up or containing acid mine drainage necessitates assistance to communities experiencing the aftermath of mining operations concluded long ago.

Pending legislation:
H.R.963 - Hardrock Mining Reform and Reclamation Act of 2015

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Poll Opening Date
March 26, 2020
Poll Closing Date
April 1, 2020

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