Front Porch Blog

Al Gore: “MTR is a Crime, and Ought to be Treated as a Crime”

Al Gore addresses Ed Wiley, Ed’s granddaughter Kayla, and the audience at the 2008 Nashville film festival, and presents Director Michael O’ Connell the 2008 “Reel Current Award” for his most recent piece “Mountain Top Removal.”

Gore on MTR:

[MTR] just kills the landscape, and it kills the prospect for Kayla and her generation to have the same kind of beautiful place to live and the same healthy place to live. And all for what?

imageKayla’s grandfather Ed Wiley took it upon himself to say “I’m gonna take this message to where somebody can hear it who can do something about it. And he walked 450 miles with a flag and a homemade flagstaff over his shoulder to Washington DC. And I admire that a lot Ed. But they didn’t respond, not really. Then he went to the Governor’s office, and then the courts got a hold of it. And of course the way our democracy is operating these days with the influence of big money being way out of bounds to what it should be – that produces way more of a response than a family, a grandfather thinking about his grand-daughter and her generation which should be right up there in first place when these decisions are made. But instead all these high priced lawyers and lobbyists and all the money thats thrown at this, it just twists the outcome of the legal proceedings, of the legislative proceedings, of the Congressional proceedings. And this is going on in Appalachia and similar activities are going on all over the world.

We’ve got to change this pattern of cutting off the tops of these mountains and just condemning future generations in Appalachia to a diminished future, and there are many of them, starting with this family that are standing up clearly and forcefully and saying “Its not right.”

And the proposals to stop this mountaintop mining have also gone nowhere. Now why is that? The influence of the groups that are making so much money on this and caring so little about the consequences has just overwhelmed what families are going through and are overwhelming what a grandfather thinks about when he thinks of how his granddaughter is going to grow up in the community where he grew up. So I hope that this film will help others to connect the dots the way it helped Tipper and me to connect the dots on the relationship between mountaintop removal – which is a crime and ought to be treated as a crime – and the results of burning it without regard to the future, which also ought to be treated as just an unacceptable practice. So, you can tell I feel strongly about this and have for a long time but the feelings I’m expressing here were really evoked in a significant way by this movie. So I want to formally congratulate and thank Michael O Connell and present him with the Reel Current Award.

Also, please watch Ed speak in the last 2 minutes. He is a brilliant man.

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