Explosion to remove mountain top for coal mining
Frank Joseph Smecker
7th July, 2009
The Appalachians, America's vast network of mountains, has long been threatened by destructive coal mining practices. Local communities fighting mountain top removal are putting their hopes behind new legislation now in Congress
The timeworn mountains of the eastern United States, mountains older than the Himalayas, are disappearing.
The life that abounds on, around, and within these mountains is vanishing at a seemingly inexorable rate. For roughly 140 years, the summits of Appalachia have been violently exploited - entire mountaintops defoliated; ammonium nitrate detonating entire peaks into dust and rubble; the detritus of those peaks, imprudently discarded down hillsides, smothering headwaters and streams, choking the life out of macroinvertebrates, fish, and riparian growth respectively. All of this, for coal.
On a clear crisp morning, one can watch the mist lift over the crests of Appalachia, revealing clear cuts wrapping around the flanks of mountains, unveiling razed summits devoid of forest cover. It's a sore sight for eyes, and a sore subject for myriad activists crusading against Big Coal.
Judy Bonds is one such activist. Co-director of Coal River Mountain Watch (CRMW) and one of the leading voices confronting the coal industry, she has been fighting for justice in the coalfields of Appalachia since 1998. A coal miner's daughter and granddaughter, loving mother and...
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