Front Porch Blog

Appalachian Citizens Push Back

Citizen Refuse to be Shut Out of Decision Making Process

This month Congress held two pro-mountaintop removal hearings on EPA policies where the Committee attempted to shut out citizens, scientists from the region, and experts on the issue of mountaintop removal. We are very honored to have this post from Mr. Patrick Morales, an Appalachian citizen who came all the way to Washington DC to tell Nick Rahall, Bob Gibbs, and the rest of their ridiculous crew that he and his family would not be ignored, despite the Committee’s attempts to block Appalachian citizens voice while removing important citizen protections from mountaintop removal. Do you agree that Appalachian citizens deserve a voice in Washington DC? Please take a moment to stand with Mr. Morales. – JW

Patrick Morales:


As part of an effort to to re-establish the intent of the Clean Water Act, ’72, which would curtail the most destructive form of coal mining currently used, Mountaintop Removal (MTR), I attended a House Subcommittee meeting, Chaired by Rep. Gibbs of Ohio, entitled “EPA Mining Policies: Assault on Appalachian Jobs.” This title would lead some to assume that the effort to protect drinking water from the toxic waste produced by MTR is costing jobs. When, in fact, MTR is designed from the start to lower labor cost thus cut jobs. This, while production has increased and profits have skyrocketed.

Last Wednesday, this committee reconvened and all but one of the witnesses, Nancy Stoner from the EPA, had some financial interest in keeping MTR free from oversight. Most disturbing was that of the 9 folks asked to testify during these meetings, not one person from an impacted community was asked to share their experience with MTR. Not one person whose family has a proud history of coal miners in their lineage was asked to tell why they are now out of work. No one from these communities has been asked to share about the clusters of autism, cancers, and low birth weight babies found in their towns. All physical ailments which in these cases have been shown to have direct correlations to physical proximity to this form of mining.

Mr Gibbs called this a “balanced” panel of witnesses though some of the largest contributors to his campaign were on the panels.

Folks from all over the country pay for this greed and selfishness, and in allowing MTR to continue, we pay in the form of subsidies, health care for many of those miners no longer employed, and the human heritage destroyed for profit.

Patrick Morales




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