Taking a little break from Mexico stories to give yall an invitation and my thoughts about something that really riles me.
One of the most ridiculous phenomenons in the whole wide world takes place in the Appalachian Mountains. This is a method of coal mining called mountain top removal, a rather benign expression for obliterating these ancient mountains. The twisted justification for this is a generation or two of good jobs and cheap energy.
Here is how it happens. The vast mountain tops are blown away with explosives and then shoved over into nearby valleys. This creates a moonscape out of the formerly lush forest. The remains of the mountain, the trees, rocks and dirt of the deceased mountain are shoved into nearby valleys burying streams and destroying the native ecology. The fun doesn’t stop there as getting coal out of the ground is a dirty business and in this process all sorts of nasty chemicals leak into the rivers and water supplies.
Proponents of these war crimes applaud all the created flat land, more room for more Wal-Marts, ya know. Guess that’ll lead to more good jobs…Wal-Mart. Sarcasm aside, much needed hospitals and businesses have made use of some of the former mine sites. Now though there are far more obliterated mountain lands than will ever be put to good use.
Left alone these mountains could provide a sustainable timber industry. Anybody seen the prices of locally made furniture? Wind farms are another option on undisturbed peaks. Such farms are already up and running in other Appalachian states including West Virginia, Maryland and Virginia.
While I’m proud of my gritty mountain heritage, I haven’t been a resident of those parts in nearly fifteen years. So part of me thinks if they want to just keep messing in their own nest then let em. For some reason though, I can’t ignore it. Maybe I just wanna know when the “roll is called up yonder” I won’t have looked the other way while Mother Nature’s finest was destroyed.
So join us and several hundred other Kentuckians at the annual I Love Mountains day rally at the capital in Frankfort on February 17th. This is the annual rally to encourage the state’s legislators to take action against these practices. Details and directions can be found at the Kentuckians for the Commonwealth website: http://www.kftc.org
For in-depth coverage of this topic check out Lost Mountain: A year in the Vanishing Wilderness by Erik Reece and Coal River by Michael Shnayerson. And of course there are a couple links in our sidebar.