Thursday, September 23, 2010

Blowing Up National Treasures

Wow!  It's been over 5 months since I last wrote!  I can't believe how that time has flown!  The reason for my absence is that we brought home our daughter from China back in May, and my life was turned upside down for a while.  I'm now settling in, and will hopefully be able to write more now.  I'll write more about our trip to China and our new, beloved daughter later, but for now, there is something I feel is very important to talk about.  That something is mountaintop removal coal mining. 

Many people have never heard of mountaintop removal coal mining, and even I hadn't until a few months ago, even though I lived near where it was happening as a child.  It started in the 1970's and continues today.  It is the blasting of mountaintops in Appalachia in order to get to the coal under the surface.  Most people are familiar with the traditional way of coal mining, where people blast holes under the mountains and go in and get the coal.  But mountaintop removal literally blows up the top of a mountain, disfiguring it's beauty, while also destroying wildlife and their homes, then waste from the process is dumped into the streams below, poisoning the water for both animals and people. 

I was so disturbed by this when I first found out about it.  Perhaps it hits me harder than a lot of people because I lived in Appalachia as a child, miss it dearly, and am even making plans to move back there.  Also, my family came from there, going back several generations.  So I have a pride in the area and a deep emotional connection to it and its mountains.  This is one reason I found myself so anxious after I learned about mountaintop removal.

Then I learned that even though I live pretty far from where mountaintop removal happens, my local electric company purchases the coal from these mountains, so I'm connected to this horrendous act.  For a while, I felt like every time I turned on a light, I was blowing up a mountain.  I know that seems a little over-dramatic, but it's really not that far from the truth.  I found the website,, and for a long time, I found it very hard to look at the photos of the blasted mountains.  I couldn't believe that anyone could have the heart to destroy their beauty.  I was appalled that anyone could without conscience dump poison into the streams, knowing it would hurt people and animals.  I am now determined to get the word out about this practice and to help end it.

There are bills that have been introduced that if passed, would end mountaintop removal.  Also several states have submitted bills for their own states to ban the use of coal from mountaintop removal.  So many of us are linked to mountaintop removal, whether we realize it or not, and we can all help to stop it. This would never happen to the Rocky Mountains, and it shouldn't be happening to the Appalachian Mountains either. These mountains are national treasures that should be treated with respect.  We can all help.  Please visit, and see how you can contact congress and your local leaders to help stop mountaintop removal.  At the very least, please pass the link to their website on to everyone you know.

If you live in the Washington, D.C. area, you will have a chance to see a commercial about mountaintop removal that will be airing for a few days from September 22-29.  If not, you can see it on the website, or click below.  It really makes you stop and think.

Thank you so much for all of your help!