Thursday, July 1, 2010
By Betty Dotson-Lewis
As a resident of West Virginia, the mountaintop removal area I have firsthand information on the mining method. I can see the smooth crest of the mountain which used to be a jagged natural rise (a sludge pond is behind that smoothness) from my home. One sludge pond is right above a facility which used to house an elementary school until the school was closed. Now, the facility houses a home for wayward children.
I too, like Silas House, encourage the President to take an aerial journey over our destroyed heritage, our mountains. However, I believe some of the reasons the past, present and future of mountaintop removal remains in the hands of (our) West Virginia politicians. When top ranking officials are in favor of mountaintop removal and tell those in D.C. West Virginia cannot survive without this form of the removal of coal - why would a President think differently. Also, the miners are scared to death there will be no other jobs and even though for many it is not their choice of coal mining - they think it is better than welfare.
Please understand until our state top ranking political officials take a stand to stop mountaintop removal - it is going to be very difficult to get the President to stop this devastation to one of the most beautiful, rugged mountain regions in Appalachia.
PS. I do believe Sen. Byrd was lending in the direction of finding alternative methods - now, he is gone. We can only pray that Gov. Manchin will appoint a successor who cares more about the people and the environment (the mountains) than huge, profit making absentee coal barons.