August 8, 2022
Appalachian states like Kentucky have a long, turbulent history with coal and mountaintop removal — an extractive mining process that uses explosives to clear forests and scrape soil in order to access underlying coal seams. For years, researchers have warned that land warped by mountaintop removal may be more prone to flooding due to the resulting lack of vegetation to prevent increased runoff. Without trees to buffer the rain and soil to soak it up, water pools together and heads for the least resistant path—downhill.
Read more: How coal mining increased East Kentucky’s flood risk