Editor’s Note: As part of the launch of the “No More Excuses” campaign on iLoveMountains.org, we asked people whose lives have been directly impacted by mountaintop removal coal mining to contribute their thoughts on why President Obama should make ending mountaintop removal a priority in his second term.
The first in the series is a reflection by Nick Mullins, who was born and raised in southwestern Virginia and, until recently, worked at an underground coal mine there. Nick is now studying at Berea College in eastern Kentucky and blogs on the web site he created, The Thoughtful Coal Miner.
What are the Appalachian Mountains? Are they simply huge mounds of dirt and rock covered by forests? Are they containers for vast resources of energy and wealth? To my family — who have called the Appalachian Mountains home for ten generations — the mountains are much, much more. The mountains are our life, our heritage and our happiness. They are our shelters, our providers of clean water. They are a place where community and being a neighbor is more than just living beside someone.
Unfortunately, there are also those who see our mountains only as a source of wealth, rather than as part of our homes and our culture. They see them as obstacles to profit, and the people of Appalachia as the labor resource to harvest it.
Every day more blasts are detonated and more miles of freshwater streams are destroyed by mountaintop removal mining operations in the mountains where I was raised. The clean water that families once depended upon is now and forever stained and polluted.Read more