Letters to the Editor

Jobs depend on mountaintop removal

To the Editor,

I am writing in regard to an e-mail that was forwarded to me by a mountaintop removal opponent. My husband mines coal by mountaintop removal, and is right now laid off.

My husband and I were born and raised in the great state of West Virginia. We believe it is one of the most beautiful places to live. My husband is an avid outdoorsman and loves to hunt and fish. However, lately we are being forced to consider moving.

The thing I find most intriguing is that the majority of the people who are here protesting mountaintop removal were not raised here in the hills of West Virginia, but Montana and various other states.

I agree whole-heartedly that we need renewable energy sources such as wind, solar, and nuclear power, but those things are well into the future, and our family is suffering now. It takes approximately ten years to construct a nuclear plant and for it to come online! How long before wind and solar sources are in place and begin to be used? Aren’t you also fighting a battle against all those who are opposed to the wind turbines? And around and around we go. This feud is never-ending. It also takes at least a two-year technical engineering degree to work in the fields of wind, solar and nuclear powers. We are on the verge of losing everything that we have worked so hard for now, and for what? So that someone can say that they have a victory. Well congratulations! I hope it’s worth it to you.

Why West Virginia and why now? Our economy is bad enough, but West Virginia had dodged the bullet the nation had taken, due to the coal economy. Doesn’t the way that coal is mined in China bother you? They are a third-world country and are not held to the strict guidelines that the United States are. I wonder what the carbon footprint is there? Is that not a battle you want to fight because you would rather be reliant on a foreign source for energy? Our oil comes mainly from foreign sources, so why not coal? Apparently President Obama is more concerned with making friends than making jobs. President Bush wasn’t an enemy of the environment, he just understood that making rash, overnight decisions would cost people jobs. He didn’t cower down just because a few people thought it was wrong.

Al Gore is the voice of the environmentalists, but what a hypocrite! He wastes more energy and does more harm to the environment by heating his pool and flying around in his private jets. My mom taught me a few life lessons that may be of great value to you also such as, if it isn’t broke…don’t fix it. Mind your own business. Sweep around your back door before you sweep around mine. Don’t throw a brick at a glass house. Are you getting my point? Maybe you could reconsider your fight. How about the war on AIDS in Africa, helping disabled veterans, finding a cure for cancer or working in a soup kitchen (you may even see me and my family in line). Maybe you could move back home. Your family misses you, but we won’t.

Sincerely,
Scott and Heather Underwood

Editor’s note: We sympathize with anyone unemployed. Recent mine layoffs have been due to low demand and competition from western coal, and even mining executives don’t see that trend changing, no matter what new environmental regulations are eventually put in place. There is hope. Skilled people will soon be needed to rebuild the nation with jobs like pouring footers on windmill sites or contracting energy conservation projects. Also, it’s worth noting that most people opposed to mountaintop removal mining do not come from outside the region. In fact, public opinion polls show that a large majority of residents oppose mountaintop removal coal mining and prefer to save the region’s environment.

Siting is critical for wind projects

My whole life, I have been surrounded by the beauty and protection of the mountains. I too Love Mountains!

The proposed wind energy project in Tazewell County will not stop or even reduce one single ounce of CO2 or prevent Mountaintop Removal. I am not against Wind Energy, I just don’t see how this project will benefit anyone but BP/Dominion They have made no promises or pledges to stop their coal usage. It is only adding a dismal amount of power to the grid. There are much less destructive sites for Wind Farms than on the Mountains of Appalachia.

Proper siting of Wind Farms is critical. In the Midwest where you have vast amounts of land that are sparsely populated and have the best winds. These areas may be more suitable. From what I have read, off shore sites may be well suited too. I am uncertain about the ecological effects of this. To destroy the integrity of the Appalachian mountains is a crime. Just as you fight to stop mountaintop removal mining, we too want to protect our area from what we consider a destructive environmental disaster. This will not bring one clean cost efficient kilowatt of electricity to Tazewell County. The power generated will goes back into the grid for resale to other larger communities. We are once again raped of one of our most beautiful resources our area has to offer – the mountains. Virginia would do better to begin a serious conservation effort if it really wants to make a difference.

Please rethink your position and help us with our fight. Check out wvhighlands.org and www.vawind.org

Ann Robinson, Tazewell County

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