2009 Goldman Prize recipient Maria Gunnoe knows that the coal industry’s main priority is to make a profit, and that exporting coal to fast-growing economies like China is indeed profitable.
House Democrats point out that coal exports are on the rise, much of which comes from mountaintop removal coal mining operations in Appalachia. A recently released report entitled, Our Pain, Their Gain: Mountains Destroyed for Coal Shipped Overseas, states:
“Coal exports have nearly doubled since 2009 to 107 million tons last year, now accounting for almost 12 percent of U.S. production. Three out of every four tons that are exported come from the Appalachian region, and often this coal is produced by mountaintop removal mining — a devastating practice that has blanketed communities with soot, contaminated drinking water, and destroyed 2,000 miles of streams.”
Appalachian communities continue to suffer the consequences of living near MTR mining sites, having their water and soil poisoned, and their valleys destroyed. Maria Gunnoe won the Goldman Prize in 2009 for her work as a leading advocate for ending MTR mining and championing community rights.