The House Subcommittee on Energy and Mineral Resources recently hosted a hearing in West Virginia to discuss the impact of coal mining regulations in Appalachia. While floor time was dominated by political supporters of the coal mining industry, environmental activists Maria Gunnoe and Bo Webb got a chance to represent the real voices of families who have to live with mountaintop removal coal mining every day.
Last night, CNN aired "Battle for Blair Mountain: Working in America," a documentary piece on coal mining hosted by Soledad O'Brien. While the piece makes an effort to represent both sides of the issue, it leaves out a critical voice: Appalachian families whose health and livelihoods have been in steady decline because of mountaintop removal coal minining.
We were thrilled to hear yesterday’s announcement: New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg is donating $50 million to their campaign to eliminate the dirtiest coal-fired power plants.
Recently featured at the Sundance Film Festival, The Last Mountain sheds light the mountaintop removal coal mining debate in the US. Goldman Prize recipient Maria Gunnoe ('09) a tireless activist featured in the film, has been fighting to protect both the land and her unique Appalachian culture from mining destruction. Scheduled to hit theatres in June 2011, the film also includes an action campaign to help spread awareness about the issues.
Maria Gunnoe appeared on today's episode of Democracy Now to provide an on-the-ground perspective on the Massey Energy mine explosion that killed at least 25 workers.
The voices of the thousands of Appalachians living with contaminated drinking water have finally been amplified over the past several days with a long-overdue announcement about halting mountaintop removal permits from the EPA and a widely-discussed New York Times story on Sunday about the devastating effects of coal-tainted water.