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"We All Live in the Coal Fields": West Virginians Step Up Protests as EPA OKs New Mountaintop Remova

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posted on May, 30 2009 @ 02:46 PM

"We All Live in the Coal Fields": West Virginians Step Up Protests as EPA OKs New Mountaintop Removal

At least thirty people were arrested in West Virginia Saturday as protesters marked a new phase of Operation Appalachian Spring, a campaign to end mountaintop removal mining. The protests came just a week after the Obama administration gave the green light for forty-two more mountaintop removal permits in a major victory for the coal industry.
(visit the link for the full news article)

posted on May, 30 2009 @ 02:46 PM
Amy Goodman interviews journalist Jeff Biggers, author of the book United States of Appalachia: How Southern Mountaineers Brought Independence, Culture and Enlightenment to America.

AMY GOODMAN: Talk about the situation now with mountaintop removal.

JEFF BIGGERS: You know, Amy and Juan, we’ve—from my perspective, the Appalachian region has really reached a state of emergency. We’re talking, every day, three million pounds of ammonium nitrate fuel oil explosives are detonated in these areas. And this is not simply just ripping off mountains. You know, in the past thirty years, since Jimmy Carter signed the surface mining bill, we’ve lost over 500 American mountains. You know, a land mass the size of Delaware has been wiped out. Over 1,200 miles of streams have been sullied and jammed.

But we’ve reached the issue that this is a human rights issue. And I think that’s what was happening last week in West Virginia, that this incredible movement called Operation Appalachian Spring has really tried to bring it to the forefront, that we’ve reached an emergency, that people’s lives are on the line, that we have these massive coal slurry impoundments. And around them, they’re honeycombed with old abandoned mines. And now they’re beginning to blast near these coal slurry impoundments, and any day they could break, if some sort of blasting could reach them. And I think this is what the kids and the activists are trying to reach the people to say: “Hey, this is no longer an environmental issue; it’s a human rights issue.”

Source : Democracy Now
(visit the link for the full news article)

posted on May, 30 2009 @ 03:23 PM
You know, coming from west virginia, I can say that I am actually against this form of mining, First they come in and timber the land, then they basically just scrap it, after there done, they fill in the area, smooth it out and put in grass. The problem is it takes 50 years for the forest to grow back. 20 is the natural growth of the trees but they don't seed trees, thats why it takes so long. As the article suggests, instead of having 3 miners that you pay $60k a year for, you have 1 bulldozer operator at $35k-40K. They make alot more money off of it.

no, if I had a choice I would go with regular mining. At least that increases the jobs for WV.

posted on May, 30 2009 @ 03:35 PM
reply to post by camain

Nice to hear from you - especially as a local ...

My interest in the issue is as a 'generalist' : just more evidence of a 'soul-less' machine consuming more and more of our delicate environment in the blind pursuit of 'corporate earnings,' without regard for any 'collateral damage' to the people or any other living things for that matter which may depend on said undisturbed environment ...

It's totally stupid.

It just proves once again the system is controlled by a bunch of Nazis and we are all a bunch of fools for allowing it to go on as long as it has ...

Did I say that ?

Yer d# right I did !

Thanks for comment, camain.

posted on May, 30 2009 @ 05:16 PM
I did a a thread on "Mountaintop Removal" about a year ago, and like this thread so far, it didn't get NEAR the attention it really should get!

Here is the thread, ...

Mountaintop Removal Should Be Illegal

There are a lot of GOOD pictures, videos, and information on "Mountaintop Removal" in the thread I posted above.

"Mountaintop Removal" should be ILLEGAL!

I could hardly believe it, but some people were actually argueing FOR "Mountaintop Removal" saying it was necessary!

[edit on 5/30/2009 by Keyhole]

posted on May, 30 2009 @ 09:35 PM
reply to post by Keyhole

Sir ( or mam ? ) ,

I defer to you !

My threads hardly every get any play, so it's not because the highly intelligent folks here at ATS are too dumb to understand the issue ...

It's more of a 'social' thing ...

But, thanks for the comment, and please, if you've got the time - say more !!

posted on May, 31 2009 @ 03:06 AM
wasn`t there a massive waste spill recently of by products from this industry? which basically posioned thousands of square miles?

posted on May, 31 2009 @ 06:47 AM
yes and no. There was a flood that raised to high levels, it flooded the disposal areas for a coal eletric plant. The disposal areas were the remains of after you burn coal.

posted on May, 31 2009 @ 03:52 PM
Being from Michigan, and never having traveled in Appalachia, I was pretty much ignorant of the mountaintop removal mining issue.

After looking into it just a little, it does not look pretty ...

Mountaintop Removal Mining

One of the greatest environmental and human rights catastrophes in American history is underway just southwest of our nation's capital. In the coalfields of Appalachia, individuals, families and entire communities are being driven off their land by flooding, landslides and blasting resulting from mountaintop removal coal mining.

Mountaintop removal is a relatively new type of coal mining that began in Appalachia in the 1970s as an extension of conventional strip mining techniques. Primarily, mountaintop removal is occurring in West Virginia, Kentucky, Virginia and Tennessee. Coal companies in Appalachia are increasingly using this method because it allows for almost complete recovery of coal seams while reducing the number of workers required to a fraction of what conventional methods require.

Mountaintop removal involves clear cutting native hardwood forests, using dynamite to blast away as much as 800-1000 feet of mountaintop, and then dumping the waste into nearby valleys, often burying streams. While the environmental devastation caused by this practice is obvious, families and communities near these mining sites are forced to contend with continual blasting from mining operations that can take place up to 300 feet from their homes and operate 24 hours a day. Families and communities near mining sites also suffer from airborne dust and debris, floods that have left hundreds dead and thousands homeless, and contamination of their drinking water supplies.

Source : Appalachian Voices

Links to Additional Info
1. Wikipedia
2. The Daily Green
3. Environmental News Service
4. Ohio Valley Environmental Coalition ( high res photos )

Thanks all for contributing to discussion !

posted on Jun, 2 2009 @ 05:51 PM
That picture is of a standard operation. It does look bad while they are actively mining. They basically go through a process from what I've heard:

First, the clear cut the timber
Next they take the top soil and sell it.
Next the take the rocks and blow it up, these are sold to gravel pits, etc
Next they take the coal, copper, iron, and any other minerals out.
Once thats done, they buy back some top soil, plant grass, and move on.

They basically completely gut a hill/hillside and leave very little of it. The hills are usually remnants of what they were.

Strip mining is the most effiecient way to do it, because they LITERALLY take everything.

Here is the problem though, if they actually mine the hill, they leave large crevasses inside. These intern causes sink holes. Additionally, its costs 3 miners vs a bulldozer operatator to mine, its more expensive. You have increased liability, because while you a mining, they only own a small piece of the land that they mining, with the mineral rights of surrounding land, they mine out the land of other owners, this is where the sinkholes causes liability. if a house gets swallowed there liable for it. Therefore, in order to do things right, they have to completely reinforce the mining areas, and actively monitor the supports even in closed mines.

This is the reason they prefer strip mining, and why I can understand why they do it. I personnally don't like it, because its equivalent to raping the land without lube, but the alternative is very expensive.



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