The Violence of Coal

I looked for the first time with my own eyes on the devastation of mountaintop mining last weekend.  [expletives deleted] The violence against the earth was bracing.  But having prepared myself for that, it was the violence against people that caught me off guard.  It is one thing to lecture about the connection between the exploitation of nature and the oppression of people; it is quite another to hear Larry Gibson describe being repeatedly shot at, run off the road, harassed by drunk and lewd miners and having his dog killed and his family cemetery bulldozed—all because he didn’t sell to Massey but spoke out against coal!

Not only this, but the victims of big coal and those who oppose big coal are essentially denied due process.  The police won’t come to Gibson’s house but recommended he call homeland security.  The county health departments tell sick and dying people that their water is fine … no e. coli at all.  Meanwhile young interns for nonprofits uncover the flow of mine toxins and are sometimes able to save lives.  Big coal has impoverished and enslaved the people of Appalachia, purchased their government and budgeted for the safety violations which cost the lives of its own miners.

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