Faith & Social Justice: In the spirit of Richard Overton and the 17th C. Levellers

I Love Mountains Day

mountaintop-removalToday is “I Love Mountains Day.” This is the day when citizens throughout states with Appalachian regions, but especially West Virginia, Tennessee, North Carolina, and here in Kentucky, lobby there state legislatures for an end to mountaintop removal: the coalmining process that is so evil that it makes strip mining seem like an ecologist’s dream come true.  About 40% of Eastern KY’s mountains have had their tops blown off for the profits of (mostly out of state) coal companies that own the mineral rights to land that belonging to the poor of Appalachia.  This not only destroys mountain beauty, but farmland (nothing grows afterward) and rivers.

Unfortunately, King Coal owns the legislators of both parties in KY, WV, NC and TN.  The legislators will refuse to come see the destruction for themselves, citing the sanitized reports of the coal companies against any independent ecological or economic impact statements.  Legislation banning mountaintop removal FINALLY cleared committee last year in KY, but it died in the full legislature–for economic reasons.  Instead of finding ways to attract eco-friendly development to Eastern KY–giving alternatives to the coal mines, our legislators would rather trade short-term profits for an eternity of ecological devastation–and that to burn one of the leading causes of global warming.

My  beloved wife, Kate, a native of East Tennessee mountains, is today with a group from our church in Frankfort (along with KY author Wendell Berry and the actress Naomi Ashley Judd, a KY native) to try to get the legislators to do the right thing.  I pray for their success. Come see KY’s beautiful mountaiins–while  they’re still there.

Update: My wife says that our wonder U.S. Congressman, Rep.  John Yarmuth (D-KY) is introducing anti-mountaintop removal legislation at the federal level to compliment our efforts at the state level! Good News!


February 17, 2009 - Posted by | ecology, economic justice


  1. How sad… especially for someone with my nick (here in Colombia we have a lot of mountains). I hope for the legislators to do the right thing.

    Comment by mountainguy | February 17, 2009

  2. My Grand Father came from Western North Carolina. The people of Appalachia have been second class citizens for as long as I can remember.

    Comment by Paul | February 18, 2009

  3. Yeah, and now they want to destroy their homes, too.

    Comment by Michael Westmoreland-White | February 19, 2009

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