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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  • by Henry Location: bell county on Feb 14, 2011 at 10:23 AM
    there are some who wont to do away with all of the MTR the woman in the interval said 35 hunderd ppl was employed how many is in each family if the job was gone how many would needs to eat, pay bill, keep worm, rearing there children would you like to bag for help would you like to ask some to pay your bill and feed your family we have lost to much as it is KY dont have alot of jobs to affer ppl we need all of you to live the hard life that we have to do see if you could make it coal is what we have and coal is what we need to stay worm, eat, and pay bills or are you all going to do it for us we dont have much more to fall back on
  • by Billy Location: Johnson County on Oct 19, 2007 at 12:54 PM
    Maybe you all should live without electricity all thru the winter months the see how you feel about MTR. There is just as much coal mined on surface as there is underground. WE NEED COAL...
  • by Jordan Location: Hindman on Oct 15, 2007 at 11:38 PM
    I like how the coal companies say we need more flat land, when 98% of the mined land is currently not being used. We have all this flat land in a mountainous region, and we're not using it, but yet they claim we need more. Thats absurd. The truth is that MTR is destroying Appalachia. For proof all anyone needs to do is just drive around Eastern Ky. It's a shame that we are letting these coal companies destroy this land that makes us who we are. It must be stopped.
  • by D. Stamper Location: Hyden on Oct 10, 2007 at 09:41 AM
    This was well-done and good coverage but this news report is inaccurate, most likely because the reporter wasn't able to stay the entire time. I was there. The reporter says that the crowd was evenly split between those who supported MTR and those who opposed it. There were far more people there who opposed it, as evidenced by the outcry during the question and answer session (the reporter had already left by then, so the inaccuracy isn't her fault, since she was probably on deadline). They can sit there and justify MTR all they want's STILL WRONG and always will be. The big money is being taken out of Kentucky while more and more miners' jobs fall prey to machines. Which side are you on? You have to make a choice and then stand up for what you believe in.
  • by SR Location: Lexington on Oct 9, 2007 at 06:35 PM
    Say NO to mountaintop removal .. it is ultimately hurting the enviroment which hurts us as well
  • by AC Location: Corbin on Oct 8, 2007 at 06:58 PM
    no one should be for mountaintop removal. it's pure evil. shame on you, Kenneth Schmidt.
  • by Doris Location: Big Branch, Perry co on Oct 8, 2007 at 04:42 PM
    If you want to see the results of surface mining you can see it behind my house. The coal co is not taking care of the water,or the streams. Something is forming on the stream bed and grass is almost across the creek. If we get heavy rain I think I will be flooded and that hasn't happened here since the 70ies, when the dam up in the hollow broke. I would rather have wildflowers for people to enjoy than a bike trail for people to ride. Reason: I don't know these people and I think we are opening ourselves up for more crime, when we start bringing other people in for tourism. As for the flat land: if we still own the property what makes them think we want a trail on it. A piece of flat land is out of reach for a middle to lower class person at this time so how is that helping them. The coal company came in and took the coal and now government will take the land for their use and WE will pay the taxes. What a trade off?
  • by carl w. shoupe Location: benham,ky on Oct 8, 2007 at 04:38 PM
    The same retoric from the coal industry, need more flat ground, we don't have the infa-structure to sustain the people that are trying too exist here.MTR is a cheap method for companies (monitarily)to extract the coal an very expensive for our planet. Our water supply is slowly but surely going to be non-existent if this type mining isn't stopped. To answer Mr Justice concerns about cheaper land, as you can see by the current drought,without water land doesn,t matter anyway.


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