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Well I started my working life in the coal mines of central Utah. And have seen first hand damage mining and coal power plants can do. And we all know that companys only care about their profit over everything else.The fact that americans an uncontroable appitite for energy. But I strongly beleive there is a middle ground here. I beleive that the Bush asministration is wrong in deregulating. I feel that most americans are like me. I would rather spend a few extra dollars on my power bill and have clean air to breath, clean water to drink and a planet that I am proud to pass on to my children. The Bush amninistration by allowing the seven power plants in West Virginia to not keep up with the current environmental times has cost West Virginians billions of dollars in revenue an jobs that they would have received from companies outside of the State. While at the same time they could have cleaned up their state and the down winders. This is the same for the coal mines, by doing the job right and leaving an evnir
onment sutiable for habitation. It may cost more to produce the coal but the people that use the power would be more than willing to pay it. So not only have you lost the environment you have lost the jobs that would be created to improve that environment. West Virginia wake up and stop smelling the soot.
I just dont understand why everyone allways knocks on one of the last great american industry's we have left. Yea coal mining, As a coal miner I have listened to countless people say what it does to the earth. Yes it does disrupt virgin lands and the land does take on a different look. However coal mining today and 50 years ago are not even in the same category. There are strict guidelines we have to follow during the mining process to make sure the land is in suitable shape for wildlife and aquatic lifa as well. At meeting's, I have often heard "animals cant live nor can fish". Well its funny to me that some of the largest elk and deer I have saw in my life has been grazing on reclaimed portions of our mine. Also some of the largest fish that ive caught has been out of our numerous ponds we build back for fish and animals alike. Most of our town has been built on old mountain top removal jobs from years past. So were would our town be if that had never happened? It just angers me that most all of you dont understand this is our economy our way of life and well being. Why are you trying to take that from us? So to answer the question are we really to dependent on coal??? Well shut us all down for a month or two and lets see who freezes in the dark.
Sean and Jackie/Josh and Tiffany
Yes, we think that the U.S. is really dependent on the amount of coal that we need to produce energy. Why do we have to destroy our earth to produce energy? Isn't there any other sources in this big ass world, all the scientists and all these expensive ass colleges that we the tax payers have to pay for. They can't research and actually find some other way to produce energy. Keep our mountains and our earth the way it is intended to look like.
Pierre Part Louisiana
I have been visiting my family in West Virginia for the last 15 years. They reside in McDowel Co. I have witnessed the destruction of the land and the return to a lesser state. It is a shame that our Leaders in Washington turn a blind eye. What they should do is take a car ride into the areas.
They have a state highway that runs across the mountain. We use it for a short cut. This year it was gated by the coal company that is striping. Everyone is denied access to the road. This is a tax payers road. How do they take control of it? This year the stripping activity has increased a lot. Do they denie this road use so people won't see the distruction? If there are alternitive methods why this is allowed?
My family was one of if not the first family in Blair to sell out to the coal company and it was not an easy thing to do. I grew up there from birth, 20 years on the same piece of land. But staying was not an option. Our lives and our home was being shaken to pieces. Nothing can replace the memories I have from growing up there or the hatred I feel toward the industry that made me leave.
Raping the earth has NO justification, especially if people's homes are destroyed in the process.
I run the Whitby WV web page which is also a coal town.
First off, there has to be some forum where the folks who live in Blair can let most of the EPA folks that they were wrong. The EPA was telling people as late as the 1970's that grass would never grow on slate and there will never be trees in the Winding Gulf area that would even compare to the "pristine" wilderness.
Well, guess what? Grass grows everywhere and the trees are so prolific its difficult to know a town exists. Add onto that the added accumulation of fresh water and you now also have a miquito paradise that does nothing but pose a health threat and further seepage.
Its amazing that many folks in the area have yet to meet any person asking them for their expertise on what happens where they live.
San Diego, CA
How about locate one of those new technologies (Discover, April 2003) that makes oil out of garbage in Blair. Jobs and revenue and save the environment. They could still be supplying energy, and it would be a lot cleaner than coal.
Good points 5/22 on energy alternatives. The only way we can change the old habits of thoughtlessly "flicking the switch" is to price in all the costs associated with each alternative. This includes the hard costs (business) and soft costs (social). Ideally the lowest price (and highest demand) alternative would be the one with the combination of lowest hard and soft costs. It is the "soft costs" that don't properly get allocated. Regulation, environmental activism, etc. is an attempt at doing this - by making it more costly/difficult for certain industries to do business. However, if all industries are equally targeted, the relative prices remain unchanged (with no change in consumer behavior). Maybe we can be more effective if we "pick our poison"?
Watching this film really helped remind me why I too am fighting to bring justice back to the coal fields of West Virginia.
I am a WV native with many friends and family members still living in the shadows of the coal mines. No one can fully understand what it's like unless they've lived with this horror on a daily basis...but I can tell you, by visiting this area and seeing for yourself the devastation that's going on, you can judge for yourself.
This is a difficult battle. One that is truly a delicate balance. On both sides, you've got hard working men and women who just want to earn a decent living and raise their families with the same American Dream we all have. However, on the one hand, you've got coal workers who've been lied to over and over again by the company they work for. On the other hand, you've got people who are willing to do whatever it takes to maintain their way of life.
The coal companies have lied for years and years. What makes anyone think that they've suddenly stopped lying? They
tell the public and government that mountaintop removal isn't bad for the environment. They try to sell the concept by dubbing it, SURFACE MINING. Surface mining doesn't sound nearly as harsh as mountaintop REMOVAL. But indeed...removal is exactly what they're doing. When they're done destroying the Earth, they 'put it back' to a 'better and productive form'.
I've seen mountaintop removal first hand. There's nothing better or more productive. Nothing grows there and it never will. Sure, the pictures they show look great...dark green grass, shrubs, an occasional tree. What they don't tell you is, they've just planted those things, they'll die within a matter of weeks. Ever notice there are NO animals on reclaimed MTR sites? Birds don't even fly over the area.
People living in the shadows of the coal mining and MTR..all they want are better standards. They aren't trying to take jobs from people, they aren't trying to deny anyone the basic freedoms we all enjoy. All they want is a better way of doing busines
s. One that ensures the environment is not destroyed and their homeland is left as it was found.
No one understands poverty and hard work better than the people of West Virginia. All their life they've worked hard for every cent they've earned and every bite of food they've taken.
When will the government, big business and the people of this country wake up and realize that we're all be suckered out of our future? If we stand back and allow this type of hypocrisy to continue, we'll all go the way of the dinosaurs.
Visit my website at: www.abetterstandard.org to learn more about MTR and the demand for better standards.
Environmentalists love to talk about the evil in the various forms of energy. While their fears are sometimes exaggerated, and they sometimes seem concerned with every species but homo sapiens, sometimes they are right.
However, intelligent discussion of the evils of one energy form must include, if not begin with, a discussion of the alternatives. Oil creates less pollution than coal but also to tends to cause more wars. Nuclear power doesn't burn anything, but radiation is dangerous. Hydropower doesn't pollute, but dams kill salmon. Solar, wind, and other 'alternative' energy sources sound great, but experts say they are about a decade away from practical implementability. (Curiously, experts said the same thing in 1990, 1980, 1970...) The ultimate energy source would be fusion, but at this point it's even money whether we will ever get it to work.
All the methods we use to generate power have problems. The response of the environmental movement so far has been to look at the evils of each one in iso
lation and to go hysterical at every attempt at development. The only thing they have accomplished is to delay decisions until power shortages create a crisis. At that point there is neither the time nor the public will for a reasoned consideration of alternatives, so whatever is quickest and cheapest gets built.
There is only one reason why utilities generate power: to meet consumer demand. It's easy to attack utilities. But the real polluters are you and me, every time we flick a switch. Utilities will always meet our demands for more power. Strip mining is a direct consequence of individuals' decisions to consume power.
The best way to reduce the impact of energy use is to use less energy. Electricity has become a seamless part of our lives. We need to change that--to make using power a conscious and informed decision that considers not only the convenience of electricity but also its consequences.
New York, NY
Here's my view from the ouside.... The issue is not mountaintop removal. The issue is, in my opinion, corporate hostage-taking/holding. These poor people are at the mercy of the coal companies. They lose, according to history, no matter what they do. (See Native American history 101.)
Problem is, my soulmates in WVA are so decent and trusting and loving of one another as neighbors, many of them don't realize when they are being screwed and by whom.
This piece broke my heart. These people have worked harder than I have or ever will to keep their families together. But my people there have been educated to believe that the enemy is Irag, or the Jews , or me, a New York homosexual. They make my liberal self want to send a check to the NRA.
The last woman in your piece tearfully said something to the effect she always thought her neighbors didn't judge on clothing, housing, etc. I think they probably didn't until Arch held them hostage.
Please tell these folks (on both sides) that I am with them in
their struggle. We're all fighting for the same thing! Let's not lose anymore!
I would love to visit some of these people, with a camera. Lemmee know if ya want to go!
great job exposing real issues and problems in our country. There are real issues and real people in your film. thank you