Ashley Judd” “The rape of Appalachia”

During a recent speech to the National Press Club in Washington, Ashley Judd called mountain top removal “environmental genocide.” She says the process is “the state-sanctioned, federal government supported, coal industry operated, rape of Appalachia.”

Ashley Judd’s comments on mountain top removal mining have sparked a firestorm of controversy in her native Eastern Kentucky.

During a recent speech to the National Press Club in Washington, Judd called mountain top removal “environmental genocide.”  She says the process is “the state-sanctioned, federal government supported, coal industry operated, rape of Appalachia.”

Judd has long been an outspoken critic of the mountain top removal.

C-Span carried Judd’s hour-long speech on its website.


Here are some of the excerpts from Ashley Judd’s speech.

"I am very proud to be a Kentuckian.  And, of the many things my Creator has seen fit to allow me to accomplish, being an Eastern Kentuckian is the simple fact that brings me the most honor, the greatest sense of self.  I love and am proud of being a hillbilly."

"And it gets bigger with every Appalachian mountaintop that is blown up, every holler that is filled, every stream that is buried, every wild thing that is wantonly and recklessly killed, every ecosystem that is diminished, every job that is lost to mechanization, every family that is pitted one against the other by the state-sanctioned, federal government-supported coal industry-operated rape of Appalachia: mountaintop removal coal mining."

"Children in eastern Kentucky draw creeks black.  They don’t know they're supposed to run clear."

Judd points out the Appalachian Mountains are the oldest in North America, possibly in the world. She questions whether mountain top removal would be allowed in any other historic mountain ranges.

"I am here to tell you, mountaintop removal coal mining simply would not happen in any other mountain range in the United States.  It is utterly inconceivable that the Smokies would be blasted, the Rockies razed, the Sierra Nevadas flattened, that bombs the equivalent to Hiroshima would be detonated every single week for three decades.  The fact that the Appalachians are the Appalachians makes this environmental genocide possible and permissible."

Judd calls mountain top removal “strip mining on steroids.”  She says coal companies launch massive PR campaigns to spread their “incessant propaganda” to “celebrate the site as an example of how good for Appalachia mountain top removal coal mining is.”

“Why they even built a prison on one former site.  Guess what?  The foundation subsided and the locals call it sink sink.”

Judd also made an apparent reference to StoneCrest Golf Course in Prestonsburg.

“On another site they built a golf course.  I’m not to keen on reinforcing stereotypes about my people, but I don’t know a lot of hillbillies who golf.”

I should mention Eastern Kentucky is home to the nation’s oldest continuous played golf course.  The Middlesboro Country Club opened in 1889.

Judd also urged the Press Club members to “commit your journalistic integrity to stop mountain top removal immediately.”

I received this email from the Bell County Chamber of Commerce. It was entitled: Ashley Judd degrading the people of Eastern Kentucky

Please watch this clip, in the attachment, of Ashley Judd showing her ignorance of the real situation in Eastern Kentucky... For the full video please visit and look for Ashley Judd..  I am appalled that she would stand in front of the world and talk about "Her People" in a degrading manner! I, for one, do not want to stand by and let her tell the story of Eastern Kentucky WRONG just because it doesn't fit into her political agenda. This is a video clip for the National Press Club in Washington D.C. that was nationally televised on C-SPAN.  So we do have a reason to be upset with her, please forward this video to everyone in your contact list also...

Thank You
Robert Lincks
Bell County Chamber of Commerce


I’ve received numerous phone calls expressing the same outrage.  I’ve also received a few calls in support of Ashley Judd’s argument. 

Now, I’d like to hear what you think.  I encourage you to listen to her entire speech and then let me know you’re your thoughts.  I’ll share your comments here on the blog.

Thanks for making WYMT-TV your source for news and information.  We appreciate your trust.

God Bless America!
Neil Middleton <><
WYMT Mountain News
Appreciate Freedom – Thank a Vet!

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Comments are posted from viewers like you and do not always reflect the views of this station.
  • by Clyde Lee Location: Rutland, OH. 45741 on Aug 2, 2010 at 10:37 AM
    I'm a Kentucky native who grew-up knowing the streams to run clear and creek to be clean enough to swim in everyday. Mrs. Judd is correct with her comments.
  • by Anonymous on Jul 9, 2010 at 07:43 AM
    All I have to say is that opinions are opinions and my opinion is that this debate will never cease and with anything you will always have negative and positive comments.
  • by Edd Location: Floyd County on Jul 4, 2010 at 11:13 PM
    Its ashamed that your so nervous but your speech, that you had to read it straight from your laptop. We had to do it by memory when I was in school. There was a letter that was wrote that stated what if people stop paying to see your movies. How much money did your father get from working in the mines. Its ashamed that your the only one in your family doing this, or is it because your sisters have already made a name for there self.
  • by Jerry Location: Lexington, Ky on Jul 3, 2010 at 02:48 PM
    I am upset with Ashleys stance on Mountain Top removal. My family is from the heart of the coal industry. Martin County is my heratige. I wish she would tour some the Mt. Top removal areas of the area to see what it has really done for the community. For the first time, I love driving into the area and see Elk, deer, turkey and other wild life that I never saw in my youth including the mighty 'Wildcat'. Please..please..see for yourself instead of looking at pictures and using your status as an 'actress and advacate' which seems to be an excuse for having a 'cause' to judge what a 'hillbilly' is suppose to be. I don't have a shot gun across my lap and although I don't play golf regularly, it doesnt mean I don't know how its played. I do. And my fellow 'hillbillys do'. Actually I have met Ashley twice including Hollywood. Maybey there should be an advocate to restrict the use of leashes on dogs. She restricts hers as she strides behind them.
  • by shellie Location: Georgetown on Jul 2, 2010 at 04:22 AM
    What do you expect from a washed up actress who will do anything to get some attention. Ashley, please stop calling yourself a hillbilly and diffently stop telling people your from Eastern Ky.
  • by greg Location: mi-pikeville-elkhorn city on Jun 30, 2010 at 10:59 PM
    That is a sad speech!She is not a Kentuckian
  • by cj on Jun 30, 2010 at 08:19 PM
    Way to go Ashley Judd! I couldn't have said it better.
  • by Jacob Location: Oneida on Jun 30, 2010 at 07:48 AM
    OH no.. I didnt realize my child of only 5 didnt realize creeks and streams was suppossed to run clear and not black.. and this is with a Surface Mining in operation on the hill above my home. Silly people...
  • by Ron Hooker Location: Lexington, KY on Jun 30, 2010 at 07:08 AM
    She does not know what she is talking about!!
  • by Vicki Location: Barbourville,Ky on Jun 30, 2010 at 01:00 AM
    Perhaps Ashley Judd and Diane Sawyer should work together. They could call the program "Things we know nothing about" I was annoyed and saddened that these women go out into America and portray their heritage as ignorant,backwoods people who don't know what color a creek should be. My property was strip mined and I now have usuable, sustainable farm fields. Thanks to our coal company. They provide good jobs,make worthless land usuable and yes, we even golf on some of it. I have a college degree, my sons both went trade schools, we are hard working honest people. I have lived in 3 states and couldn't wait to get back Home. Ignorance, drug use and poor living conditions can be found in every state if you look hard enough, portraying it as the norm in Ky is just wrong! I would like to know how long Ashley Judd was in Ky because her Mother's movie showed them in California for most of Ashley's life. They actually lived in a house on a country club with a golf course. Maybe she forgot?


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