A Miner’s Response

Dear Editor,

I am writing on behalf of myself and many coal miners throughout Southwest Virginia. I am a reader of your newspaper and an avid outdoorsman and conservationist.

Recently, as I read through [Two Miles from Hell: a Miner’s Story in the March 2010 issue], I was appalled at the biased point of view that you let be published in your paper.

The way this man feels is in no way how the industry of coal mining is, and therefore should not be depicted as such. The mining industry cannot help that he is unhappy with his job, and giving him a platform to bash the entire industry for it is shameful.

I work in a deep mine much like the one described in the story, and I really love my job. I am third generation coal miner and I am proud to work for my family.

I, Like many if not most miners, am disgusted at mountaintop removal. It is a cheap and disrespectful way to ravish our land. Many of us are ardent hunters and fishermen, as well as hikers who love the outdoors and work hard to protect it.

Nonetheless, this article has undoubtedly tarnished the view of the coal industry, when it is just one man’s opinion. I am saddened at this, as coal is much of the livelihood of our area. I am proud to provide for my family, and this man needs to either become proud of the work he does or leave the industry, because his type of attitude leads to neglect of the job and eventually accidents.

I hope that a retraction or apology is printed underscoring the values of true coal miners. We love our country, our lands, and our jobs.

Thank you, Justin Honaker


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