Clean Coal: Count the Costs

Fight mountaintop removal coal extraction in the appalachian mountains
More than 470 mountains have been destroyed by mountaintop removal coal mining. Watch this video about mountaintop removal, including excerpts from the documentary Kilowatt Ours, featuring Woody Harrelson and a soundtrack featuring an original recording of “Blowin’ in the Wind,” sung by Willie Nelson. (08:23)

PLEASE do more than watch the video when you visit the link. Keep clicking on the page. Get an education. Then educate somebody else. Maybe even a politician.

You might also keep in mind this quote from a few days ago: “the Bush administration released a new energy plan in April 2001 that called for construction of 1,300 new power plants by 2020.” And understand that “clean coal” mined just as you see here will power those plants. Unless WE SPEAK OUT for our mountains, streams, freedoms and rights.

Share this with your friends!

Fred First holds masters degrees in Vertebrate Zoology and physical therapy, and has been a biology teacher and physical therapist by profession. He moved to southwest Virginia in 1975 and to Floyd County in 1997. He maintains a daily photo-blog, broadcasts essays on the Roanoke NPR station, and contributes regular columns for the Floyd Press and Roanoke's Star Sentinel. His two non-fiction books, Slow Road Home and his recent What We Hold in Our Hands, celebrate the riches that we possess in our families and communities, our natural bounty, social capital and Appalachian cultures old and new. He has served on the Jacksonville Center Board of Directors and is newly active in the Sustain Floyd organization. He lives in northeastern Floyd County on the headwaters of the Roanoke River.

Articles: 3013


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

  1. It’s fine and well if you point out the negative effects of certain coal mining techniques, but with market for energy ever growing, how do you propose we meet our demand for the future? For example, even with an increase in biofuel production, the proportion of energy production from oil, gas, and coal will still be around a constant 86% for the next 30 years according to the Energy Information Administration. And you know there will always be some segment of our population that will complain about carbon, another will complain about nuclear, and so on.

    The Bush administration has a plan to reduce oil usage as shown here:

    But the reality is nobody could develop a plan that would console everyone regarding energy production…not even Al Gore.

  2. I agree, we should curtail strip mining where ever we can. Maybe an excellent place to begin is here; a dormant strip mine.

    CARTHAGE, Tenn. – Al Gore has profited from zinc mining that has released millions of pounds of potentially toxic substances near his farmstead, but there is no evidence the mine has caused serious damage to the environment in the area or threatened the health of his neighbors.

    Two massive white mountains of leftover rock waste are evidence of three decades of mining that earned Gore more than $500,000 in royalty payments for the mineral rights to his property.

    Former U.S. Sen. Albert Gore Sr. bought about 88 acres along the Caney Fork River from Occidental Minerals, a subsidiary of Occidental Petroleum, for $160,000. Included in the deal was the subsurface area. The rights to the minerals below ground were then leased back to Occidental.

    On the same day, Gore Sr. sold the land and subsurface area to his 25-year-old son and daughter-in-law for $140,000. The mineral lease to Occidental was put in their names.

    Kreider said the terms of the 30-year agreement provided the Gores “no legal recourse” even if they had wanted to cancel it, Kreider said.

    The Gores, she said, would not comment on whether they tried to pursue legal action to void the lease. “There is a certain zone of privacy once people go into private life.”

    Gore received $20,000 a year for 27 years and $10,000 a year for three years, making a total of $570,000 in lease payments. Kreider said the Gores never considered selling the land.

    New owners plan to start mining again later this year, after nearly four years of inactivity. In addition to bringing 250 much-needed jobs to rural Middle Tennessee, mine owners will resume paying royalties to some residents who, like Gore, own land adjacent to the mine and lease access to the zinc under their property. -The Tennessean

    [note: article is pay only at]

    Many folks more learned and pursuasive than I have claimed that pollution was minimal,the site well managed and an employment asset to the struggling rural community.

    However facile rationales won’t put humpty dumpty back together again will it? This mine should remain closed and the site restored. If not here, a mine owned by Global Warming spokeman Al Gore for Peets sake! Then how can we convince others, especially the Chinese, to close their obsolete or dormant operations?

  3. i was watching “planet earth” on the discovery channel sunday night, and GE had commercials touting their “clean coal” initiative….i guess thinking it would make them appealing to the people watching the program. every time i saw the commercial though, i thought about mountaintop removal…and the devastation that gleaning this coal is causing. they failed to mention that…..

    btw- you MUST watch “planet earth” if you get the chance……