Science On Tap: November 2019

Science On Tap: November 2019

Blowing Up Mountains for Coal: Environmental Impacts That Never Stop
Monday, November 4, 2019 . 6:30PM

Guest Lecturer: Margaret A. Palmer
Distinguished University Professor of Entomology and
Director of the National Socio-Environmental Synthesis Center at the University of Maryland

Along beautiful tree-lined ridges that are home to diverse plants, birds, salamanders and more, explosives have been blasting away leaving behind piles of rock and soil. This "overburden" is pushed into streamlined valleys clearing the way for huge machinery to reach coal seams. Not only are the mountains flattened, streams filled and ecologically important species lost, but as rain percolates through the overburden-filled streams, waterways below are poisoned by salts and toxic elements like selenium. UMD researchers have shown that this polluted water leads to loss of sensitive species and that the pollutant inputs to streams continue forever. Proponents of coal mining argue the mining jobs are essential and that coal companies make up for the environmental impacts by improving other streams, but neither of these claims is supported by science.

Space is limited. Food and beverages will be available for purchase. Happy hour specials will be available until 7 p.m.

Questions? Contact Abby Robinson
at or 301-405-5845.