A Tough Week for Coal

A recent blog post at The New York Times provides an excellent rundown of citizen and government action against Big Coal. Green Inc.: A Tough Week for Coal

CNN – Coal River Mountain

Today, CNN.com posted a story about the impending destruction of Coal River Mountain. An excerpt and link to the full story are below:

RALIEGH COUNTY, West Virginia (CNN) -- Lorelei Scarboro loves to talk about the wild turkeys and bears living on West Virginia's Coal River Mountain. She watches them from the home her husband built when they were first married. But Scarboro is convinced it could all become a casualty of blasting that could begin on the mountaintop which is just 100 yards from the family cemetery where her husband is buried. "Everything I have here is at risk," said Scarboro whose father, grandfather and husband all worked as coal miners. About 470 mountain tops in Appalachia, including the one next to Coal River, have been destroyed. Mountaintop removal mining is faster and cheaper than underground mining but its impact on the environment is much worse. "I know there is a right way and a wrong way to mine coal and mountain top removal is the most destructive practice they can do," said Scarboro, now a member of the Coal River Mountain Watch. Mountaintop mining is legal and became more prevalent six years ago when federal laws were relaxed. During the mining process, miners blast ...more...

The Battles of Blair Mountain

As the story goes, my great grandfather William “Crack” Thompson and his brother Jess carried their Winchester rifles to Blair Mountain in the late summer of 1921. They were on their way to America’s largest armed uprising since the Civil War. Nearly 90 years later, Blair Mountain, in the heart of West Virginia’s Appalachians, is again a battlefield. In 1921, the coal miners of southern West Virginia organized into a force nearly 10,000 strong, determined to bring justice to the coalfields. Coal companies had long treated miners and their families as if they were disposable. In each mining community, the company owned the town, the store, and even the church. Workers were paid per ton of coal—a variable measure at the discretion of the company—and in scrip, a company-minted currency that could only be used in the company-owned store. A miner who got uppity, perhaps by joining the union, was often simply fired, his family evicted and belongings confiscated to pay whatever debts the company decided he owed. Not only were miners dogged by poverty, but injury and death in the mines were daily realities. According to the West Virginia Division of Culture and History, it has been suggested that a soldier ...more...