The war on coal propaganda

My husband and I went to the film “Moving Mountains” based on a book by Penny Loeb telling the story of a woman, Trish Bragg, and her community’s struggle for justice from big coal in 1994 when her neighbor’s well went dry. After years of hard work, fighting a billion dollar coal company and government bureaucracy, her community finally got clean water. Today, problems continue with mountaintop mining.

All the propaganda about a war on coal is ridiculous. The new regulations on coal firing plants are being demonized by many in the upcoming elections. The EPA gives each state a year to complete a plan to reduce carbon emissions by 2030. Some of the ads are proclaiming that this will kill jobs. Coal mining jobs have been decreasing since 1983 because of more use of machinery and mountaintop removal. At this point in time there are more jobs in solar energy than there are in coal in the entire country. Also, some power plants are using natural gas, which is less expensive and somewhat cleaner than coal.

West Virginia has 20,076 people working in mines and 2,767 people working in our 47 coal fired power plants. Our neighbor, Kentucky has 17,959 working in mines and 2,972 working in their 56 power plants. When you look at the map, these areas have the highest rate of poverty.

How many of our elected officials have flown over the mountaintop mining sites? How many have visited the citizens living in the valleys and hollows where more flooding occurs, the air is polluted as well as the water? They don’t visit these areas because the people are not large contributors to their campaigns. As shown in the film, the only time officials do so is when there is a lawsuit. Why must citizens have to struggle so hard to have clean air and water?

Instead of whining that EPA is killing jobs, our elected officials or those running for office should be investigating ways to retrain coal miners to manufacture and install solar panels, as well as windmills. I think the only thing that will grow on the stripped mountains will be wind or solar power farms.

Margaret Meeker