The purpose of this investigation was to assess the environmental impact of the surface mining methods currently used in the steep- sloped areas of central appalachia--southern West Virginia, eastern Kentucky, southwestern Virginia, and northeastern Tennessee. Comparisons are made between mountaintop-cross ridge mining, contour strip, augering and an innovative method--surface shortwall mining that was attempted at Julian, WV. Included in the report are a discussion and analysis of current Appalachian production, reserves, and the extent of land affected on a county-by-county basis. Additionally, the seams within the steep-sloped region were assessed according to minimal standards of thickness, surrounding lithology, and areal extent to determine their amenability to surface shortwall mining. Only minimal statements are made concerning quantity because of the narrow set of conditions required by the shortwall method.