Posts Tagged ‘mountaintop removal’
Tags: banks, capitalism, cartoon, Catholic Church, coal, environment, fracking, mountaintop removal, pope, SEC, Wall Street
Tags: Harlan County, Kentucky, mining, mountaintop removal, poverty, workers
I just took a memorable trip to Harlan County, Kentucky—a region with a rich history and crunching poverty.*
The latest battle in Harlan County is over mountaintop removal, which is already dominating the landscape and looming over communities across the border in Virginia:
*The median household income in Harlan County (according to the Census Bureau, for 2006-2010) is $26,582 (compared to $41,576 for Kentucky) and the poverty rate is 30.7 percent (compared to 17.7 percent for Kentucky)
Tags: Appalachia, banks, coal, crisis, debt, Europe, mountaintop removal, unions, United States, Wisconsin
Tags: coal, mining, mountaintop removal, protests
Police arrested more than 20 opponents of mountaintop mining [ht: db] at four U.S. House offices Wednesday, including six people from Kentucky who had pushed to meet with Rep. Harold “Hal” Rogers.
Here is Teri Blanton, who was one of those arrested:
The Appalachian Mountains have been our home for generations. People have survived here for centuries and now the coal industry is making the land impossible to live on. These beautiful mountains are the oldest mountains on earth, and we need to protect them if we want to protect ourselves.
I want a well-educated, healthy future for Eastern Kentucky. My hope is that the people who have been producing energy for this nation for over 100 years will be a part of the new energy revolution. People need healthy, well-paying jobs that doesn’t destroy their lives or the lives of those around them.
I just hope our message will ring with my neighbors in Appalachia, and help them to realize that what we’re doing is fighting for our survival. Without clean air and clean water, we will not survive.
Tags: Appalachia, coal, gold, history, mountaintop removal, Romania, television
Romania has been the site of two major feuds in recent times—they’re remarkably similar to a third.
The first was the History Channel’s disappointing mini-series, Hatfields & McCoys, which was shot in Romania. As a friend explained to me, “They were cutting trees that looked like twigs compared to what the original forest in WV [West Virginia] would have looked like at the time.”
The second is the current feud over the Rosia Montana gold mine, which pits Canada’s Gabriel Resources, along with “2,800 locals, the mayor and county administration and President Traian Basescu,” against those who oppose the project, “a handful of residents, several church, environmental and human rights groups, the Soros Foundation and neighbor Hungary, which fears the consequences of any environmental damage.”
The current battle in Romania is remarkably similar both to the Hatfields and McCoys and to the feud taking place today concerning mountaintop removal in Appalachia. All three are examples, from different points in history, of a contest for social and economic control between local people and outside industrial capitalists.
Tags: laws, mountaintop removal, poverty, sociology, unemployment, workers
How should we treat enduring legacies?
Enter the sociologist, to record the agony of the dispossessed. Does it really matter how they define a “good job” when they have virtually no prospect of finding one?
Then, there’s the legacy of Appalachia—of mountains, communities, and workers’ battles against the mining companies—which is being undone by current mining operations and, now, a federal judge’s ruling on behalf of the Mingo Logan Coal Co. to continue to operate its Spruce No. 1 mine.
“This town was already pretty much destroyed [by mountaintop removal mining] in the late ‘90s and early 2000s,” Nida said in a telephone interview. “It went from about 700 people to 60 or 70 now. This will just finish it.”
Blair is of particular significance because of its proximity to Blair Mountain, where in 1921 some 15,000 striking coal miners fought a violent battle with police and coal company-backed strikebreakers. Dozens died, and federal troops had to be called in.
Finally, there’s the legacy bequeathed to us by the unemployment suffered by millions of workers.
People who lose jobs, even if they eventually find new ones, suffer lasting damage to their earnings potential, their health and the prospects of their children. And the longer it takes to find a new job, the deeper the damage appears to be.
Not since the Great Depression have so many Americans been unable to find work for so long. But researchers have turned to the next-worst period, the early 1980s, to seek a better understanding of the likely damage.
A 2009 study, to cite one recent example, found that workers who lost jobs during the recession of the early 1980s were making 20 percent less than their peers two decades later. The study focused on mass layoffs to limit the possibility that the results reflected the selective firings of inferior workers.
Losing a job also is literally bad for your health. A 2009 study found life expectancy was reduced for Pennsylvania workers who lost jobs during that same period. A worker laid off at age 40 could expect to die at least a year sooner than his peers.
And a particularly depressing paper, published in 2008, reported that children also suffer permanent damage when parents lose jobs. The study followed the earnings of 39,000 Canadian fathers and sons over 30 years beginning in the late 1970s. The study found the sons of men who lost their jobs eventually earned about 9 percent less than the sons of otherwise comparable workers.
In order to undo that legacy, we would need to move beyond the culture of poverty, and to have better decisions by federal judges, and to understand that a system that produces massive, long-term unemployment—as well as staggering racial disparities and the ongoing destruction of Appalachian mountains and communities—needs to be replaced.
Tags: Appalachia, mountaintop removal, music, protests
The friend who sent me this link explains the context:
The “demonstration” is obviously staged (it would seem to be in Danville, despite some good West Virginia Mountaintop Removal images). But what is interesting is the putting on and wearing of red bandanas. The 10,000 miners who marched on Blair Mountain in 1921 to battle the anti-union forces in Logan County, WV wore red bandanas as part of their “uniforms.” To this day, older miners claim that’s where the term “red-neck” comes from. Since the singer/songwriter is from Eastern KY, she may well know the bandana’s labor and militancy symbolism. She’s part of a group in NYC, of performers mainly from KY and WV, who’ve organized I Love Mountains-New York to publicize MTR.
Tags: Appalachia, cartoon, coal, mountaintop removal
Tags: coal, environment, Kentucky, mountaintop removal
The Senators from
Kentucky King Coal are back at it, trying to stop the Environmental Protection Agency from protecting us from the environmental damage of mining coal.
Mitch McConnell and Rand Paul introduced legislation last Thursday that curtails the EPA’s power to delay or veto permits for coal mining projects.
According to Andrew Leonard,
The coal industry is upset at the EPA for quashing the huge Spruce No. 1 mine in West Virginia. Paul, who made some waves during his campaign for senator when he characterized the deaths of 29 coal miners at Massey Energy’s Upper Big Branch mine as an example of the “accidents and unfortunate things that do happen no matter what the regulations are,” is exactly the kind of libertarian senator that most big polluters dream of. But the ironic, or ridiculous, part of his “good first step” statement is of course the fact that the action taken by the EPA’s “unelected bureaucracy” was the clear result of an election.
It should be a no-brainer. We all agree that coal mining—especially mountaintop removal—has disastrous effects on the natural and social environment, which therefore requires strong EPA controls.
All of us, except the Senators from King Coal.
Tags: Appalachia, Kentucky, mountaintop removal
Silas House explains that mountaintop removal is not just an environmental crisis. It’s a human crisis.
We were also told the success of the mines mattered above all else, that if we complained about the dust, noise and disrespect pumped out by the mine in our community, people would lose jobs.
The coal companies, the news media and even our own government have all been complicit in valuing Appalachian lives less than those of other Americans. Otherwise, it might be harder for them to get that coal out as quickly and inexpensively as they do.
Those of us who protest mountaintop removal do it for the environment, but we’re also fighting to prove we are not unwarranted burdens. Our water and air are being poisoned, but the most dangerous toxin is the message that people don’t matter.