Mountain Top Removal
The Clean Water Protection Act PDF Print E-mail

The Clean Water Protection Act (H.R. 1310) is a bill in the US House of Representatives which will sharply reduce mountaintop removal coal mining, protect clean drinking water for many of our nation's cities. It will protect the quality of life for Appalachian coalfield residents who face frequent catastrophic flooding and pollution or loss of drinking water as a result of mountaintop removal coal mining. read more ...

 
Appalachian Treasures PDF Print E-mail

Appalachian Voices

The Appalachian region is one of the most undervalued parts of the country, both ecologically and culturally.

It has a long history of oppression due to it wealth of natural resources, such as coal and timber. The stereotype of Appalachians being ignorant and “backwards” have allowed these industries to lay waste to the region with little thought to the consequences. Destructive techniques such as mountaintop removal mining would never be allowed to occur in the Rocky Mountains or in the Adirondacks.

In order to bring the country together to protect the region from the ravages of mountaintop removal, we created the Appalachian Treasures slideshow, with images and voices from the region. Along with directly impacted residents, we travel with this presentation to key Congressional districts across the country to build a national base to gain support for the Clean Water Protection Act and the Appalachia Restoration Act. Along the way, we have traveled to over 20 states and talked to over 7,000 people directly.

We normally schedule our Appalachian Treasures tours in the spring and fall. We may also be available for presentations outside of our touring schedule. Please contact This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it for more information.

 
Appalachia: State of the Re:Union PDF Print E-mail

Appalachia Rising

The DE POPULATION of Appalachia. Not a new plan, it's been going on right before us and they do not even try to hid the documents. Beautiful Audio history and background info of rural Appalachia. It's OUR history, the beginnings of our culture.

Rural Appalachia has long been portrayed in the media as a place of victims: people at the mercy of the region’s poverty or bigotry. In this episode, SOTRU turns that notion of Appalachia on its head, telling stories of residents fighting for the well-being of their land, people and culture. We travel to southern West Virginia, where former coal miners and their families are fighting mountain-top removal mining and a small town is reinventing itself. Then, we visit Eastern Kentucky, where a community radio show has inspired an outpouring of activism.

Listen to or download the Full Episode

Segment A
An introduction to the history of resistance in rural Appalachia. Then, we meet several Appalachians whose lives have been dramatically transformed by a new form of coal mining.

Segment B
A fight over the mountains. We continue the story of mountain top removal mining and hear from those who are for it and against it.

Segment C
How a radio show is rallying a prison community in Eastern Kentucky. Then, we visit a small West Virginia town that is reinventing itself as a center for the arts.

ADDITIONAL APPALACHIA STORIES:

The Coalfield Uprising
The Nation article about mountain top removal mining.

Battle Over Mountain Top Removal Mining
Feature in Time Magazine about the “emptying of Appalachia.”

Artists the Key to Open Opportunities
Writeup about Princeton’s arts community in the Bluefield Daily Telegraph.

 
Lindytown to be bulldozed down after Massey buys out residents for MTR PDF Print E-mail

Coal Valley News
by Joanie Newman

 

Lindytown today looks more like a ghost town than the once rural community it was just months ago.

With windows and doors boarded up, the houses line the street – vacant and deserted.

With the exception, that is, of one family – the Richmonds.

Quinnie and Lawrence Richmond have decided to stay in the holler that has been their home for the past 63 years – come what may.

And what most likely will come is more blasting – and dust – and flying rocks, as the neighboring land is now controlled by two coal companies.

In front of the Richmond home, the land is owned by Horizon, a company contracted by Patriot Coal. Behind the house, Massey Coal Corporation’s mountain top removal mining operation is blasting their way ever closer to the couple’s home.

The Richmond’s yellow house appears in sharp contrast to the neighboring abandoned homes, whose owners sold to Massey Coal Corp. when presented with a list of five options.

“Most all of the people who sold moved or had someone else around here help them move. They didn’t hire a regular mover. They never hired a large truck to move.

“Everyone else has sold in the community; the exception being me and my son, who lives in the trailer right there, and I have another son who lives down the road,” Lawrence Richmond explained.

“When the land specialist came down from Massey Coal Corp., we were discussing it one day and he was telling me what all the options were, and I told him, ‘You know what you should do, fella? You should make up those options and put ‘em down on paper and make copies of them and give them to every individual in the community. That way, they know what is before them.’ He told me he had never thought of that. So the next time he came back around, he brought those options and there were five of them.”

Of those five options, Richmond says there were a few options available to those who decided not to sell.

“We’re all right here and we decided to stay,” Richmond says.

The land on which Richmond’s home stands is part of a 50-acre tract that once belonged to a woman the community members lovingly remember as “Ducky Ferrell.”

“She stated that the land was to be used – that the minerals and timber would be used for domestic use only,” Richmond says.

“Now, as to who it belongs to…most of the land now belongs to Massey Coal Corp., as the owners sold their homes. However, the coal companies have mined underneath on that side and the other side for years. That’s the reason why the creek is so dry out there. Right now at this period of time, it’s as dry as it can be,” Richmond says.

Families who can trace their lineage back several generations in Lindytown have pulled up roots and relocated.

“The bought the entire town of Lindytown out,” says one disgruntled resident, “And though I don’t have anything against mountain top mining, I think it’s terrible that Massey won’t allow families to go back in to get all of their belongings after they promised the families that they could. They said they were interested in the land only, and that if we could move our houses on our backs, we could take anything we wanted. Now, they’re telling us we can’t get our stuff out, and they’re calling the law on us when we do go to get our things out.”

One thing that is evident at Lindytown, is the numerous telephone and cable wires that have been cut.

A spokesperson for Massey Coal Corp. did not immediately return calls from the Coal Valley News regarding the complaints from former Lindytown community members.

According to Richmond, there is a guard who can occassionally be seen patrolling the area.

According to former residents, the guard is contracted by Massey Coal Corp., to patrol the area from potential looters, though some former residents have expressed concerns to the Coal Valley News that the guard, himself, has been collecting items from abandoned homes such as hardwood flooring and bath tubs.

The Coal Valley News was again unable to reach representatives at Massey Coal Corp. to either confirm or deny such allegations.

 
Blair Mountain PDF Print E-mail

Blair Mountain is the site of the largest armed insurrection on U.S. soil since the Civil War, and one of the most significant events in American labor history.

 

Sign the petition to protect Blair Mountain.

 

As citizens concerned with the faithful representation of America’s rich and often turbulent national history, and as scholars and artists whose work has touched upon the history of coal mining labor in West Virginia and beyond, we write to express our strong opposition to the National Park Service’s de-listing of Blair Mountain as a site of national historic significance, and to support the legal challenge to that decision launched by the Sierra Club, the Ohio Valley Environmental Coalition (OVEC), Friends of Blair Mountain and the West Virginia Labor History Association. Many of us have worked productively with the Park Service in public history and heritage preservation projects in the past, and are hopeful that this mistaken decision can be quickly reversed.

 

As you are no doubt aware, Blair Mountain is the site of the largest armed insurrection on U.S. soil since the Civil War, and one of the most significant events in American labor history. In 1993 a Congressionally-mandated ‘Labor History Theme Study’ by ten historians for the National Landmarks Program recommended Blair Mountain as a landmark site. Both the site’s importance in our national history and the urgency of adopting energetic measures to preserve it were recognized again in 2006, when the National Trust for Historic Preservation designated Blair Mountain one of America’s 11 Most Endangered Historic Places. The National Park Service seemed to accept that logic when, in March 2009, it included Blair Mountain in the National Register of Historic Places. We are deeply concerned at the reversal of that decision in the face of pressure from coal companies eager to strip mine the area, and alarmed by very recent reports that mining equipment is already being moved onto the site. We therefore respectfully urge the National Park Service to immediately re-list Blair Mountain on the National Register of Historic Places.

 
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