Debate Held On Mountaintop Removal

By: Angela Sparkman Email
By: Angela Sparkman Email

It was six Appalachian men with six different opinions.

Former Governor Paul Patton moderated the debate.

Those for mountain removal say eastern Kentucky needs the land for development, but those against say it isn't worth risking the land.

Author Silas House says he doesn't want mountains to disappear, “I'm not anti-coal but I believe coal can be taken in a more responsible manner.”

Coal businessman Kenneth Schmidt disagreed, saying there are benefits after the mining is done.

“It's now my mountain hiking and biking of choice. Without it, I would have very little recreation activities by my house,” Schmidt said.

Raul Urias says the process to get to there isn't worth it, saying it even hurts his four year old daughter.

“It's a shame I had to limit her playing time outside due to the dust and the possibility of Flyrock. heavy blasting has already hit some abandoned house nearby mine,” Urias said.

Those for it say eastern Kentucky needs the flat land for development.

They say the reclaimed sites turn into business parks, shopping centers, recreational activities, and homes.

Environmentalists argue the water is polluted and wild life destroyed, but Coal Operators say they restore the water.

Still some say wonder if it's a risk leaders should take.

“If we care about poor people, and what we need is cheaper land how we get that is flattening these areas,” Rusty Justice said.

One thing brought up a lot in the discussion is who makes the decision for mountain top removal, coal operators say it is whoever own the land.

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