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Broadening the Definition of the Tragedy of the Commons: Encompassing the Tragedy of Mountain Top Removal Coal Mining in Appalachia

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Type: Working Paper
Author: Mincey, Sarah
Date: 2008
URI: https://hdl.handle.net/10535/5651
Sector: Land Tenure & Use
Social Organization
Region: North America
Subject(s): tragedy of the commons
open access
common pool resources
mountain regions
property rights
landscape change
Abstract: "The following paper seeks to consider a broadened definition of Hardin's 'tragedy' associated with these resource sub-units in light of the relatively recent Appalachian coal mining practice of mountain top removal (MTR), and its influence on the common-pool resource of mountain landscape scenery. We first consider the obvious physical effects that MTR has on the landscape of Appalachia. Secondly, in recognition of landscape as a common-pool resource, we consider the tragedy of the loss of the Appalachian visual commons. Finally, this paper considers the consequences of this loss and the potential policy solutions. Yes, there is real market for mountains, today-a market that captures private land in the Appalachian Mountain chain for the extraction of coal and its use in providing cheap electricity to the United States. And yet, there is also a market, of sorts, for the unadulterated view of this same mountain."

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