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Every day, Big Coal blasts 2,500 tons of explosives, equivalent to the power of a Hiroshima bomb every week, to blow away Appalachian mountaintops and reach the coal seams underneath. All that rock and debris is then plowed by giant earthmovers-weighing up to 8 million pounds and standing up to 20 storys tall-into the adjacent river valleys and hollows, decimating forests and choking up mountain streams, while flattening North America's most ancient mountain range

Roughly 1,200 miles of American rivers and streams have already been permanently buried, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, leaving behind giant pits as large as Manhattan. Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. in a guest post on the Google blog, writes:

Mountaintop mining poisons water supplies, pollutes the air, destroys hundreds of miles of North America's most ancient and biologically diverse hardwood forests and permanently impoverishes local communities. For too long, this devastation has been hidden in the remote poverty-stricken communities of Appalachia. ... Wherever you live, you have a connection-and a responsibility.

Find out what your connection is by entering your zip code into a new Web site, created by nonprofit organizations in Appalachia, that taps into Google Maps and Google Earth as interfaces to a large database of power plants and mountaintop-removal coal mines. You can also use the online tools to tell your power company to choose cleaner energy sources over mountaintop removal. Take action today; it can be as easy as clicking a mouse button. ::I Love Mountains

Difficulty level: Easy