Members Of The House Appropriations Committee View Mountaintop Removal

By: Jeff Gould Email
By: Jeff Gould Email

Kentucky gives at least 100 million dollars a year to the mining industry, which provides more than 90 percent of our energy.

Members of the house appropriations committee got a first hand look at the controversial form of mining known as mountaintop removal in eastern Kentucky.

Members of Kentuckians for the Commonwealth, a group opposed to mountaintop removal mining say the age of coal is over, and it's time to start looking for alternative and renewable forms of energy here in Kentucky.

Supporters of the common form of surface mining say without mountaintop removal, development in eastern Kentucky would be nearly impossible.

It's a common sight around Eastern Kentucky, thousands of sites where there used to be a mountain. For many, it's the only way to support industry, but others say it's destroying our homeland.

“Mountaintop mining is just one method of mining, and it's the most destructive,” Doug Doerrfield said.

Kentuckians for the Commonwealth held several presentations and led members of the House Appropriations and Revenue Committee to an active mountaintop removal site.

They want the legislators to see first hand, the effects of surface mining on the community and the environment.

“Once these mountains are scalped and covered with grass, you lose 98% of the biodiversity that was here,” Doerrfield said.

Supporters of surface mining say, flat land would not exist in Eastern Kentucky without it.

“If it had not been for mountaintop removal and surface mining in the Hazard area for example we would not have had the hospital, we would not have had the land to put the hospital on, the subdivisions near the hospital, the airport,” Bill Caylor said.

Kentuckians for the Commonwealth ultimately hope for an immediate end to all mountaintop removal mining in the area


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Comments are posted from viewers like you and do not always reflect the views of this station.
  • by Elizabeth Location: Letcher Co. on Dec 7, 2007 at 01:37 PM
    We have more than enough flat land. If a plant wants to locate here, they should be able to use land that's already been created. 25% of Perry County and 65,000 acres in Pike County have already been flattened. I'm glad they've been able to use some mountaintop removal sites for economic development. However, the sad fact is that only about 2% is actually used for anything. The last time I checked mountaintop removal was only a small portion of the mining that goes on here, and it's the kind that requires the fewest workers. In my view, I think we would be best served to work together and hold the industry accountable. The same companies that are damaging our homes and drinking water are also going by mine safety rules. Is it wrong to expect companies to follow the rules and protect our homeplaces so our children have a future to look forward to?
  • by I live here Location: eastern ky on Dec 5, 2007 at 08:59 PM
    Well really do you think those elk stay on those strip mines? They have to eat you know.the deer, elk, rabbits and other animals are coming down off the mountains because of the mining. And why do we need airports here? Are tourists going to come here to view strip mines and hollowfills? As for the statement that we should be out there soliciting food and help for the poor, some of us do that every day, Thank You. And I will hug my trees if I want to. They belong to me, not you or any coal company.
  • by I live here Location: easten ky on Dec 4, 2007 at 06:05 PM
    What about the people who are living here? We don't seem to count in this equation. I can't afford to move. My home is here, and property values will diminish to practically nothing. What are we supposed to do while you have your electricity? Or should I give my property to the coal company? Have you read a leasing contract from a coal company? If we don't sell at their price we get harassed by neighbors and others. The last time I checked, we still live in America and the constitution guarantees us the right of free speech. And the right to enjoy our own property.
  • by Living here Location: eastern ky on Dec 4, 2007 at 04:39 PM
    Maybe you should try to live here, and have your home shaken 3 times a day by blasting, and have dust storms roll from the mines, and drink the contaminated water. My family goes through this every day. Are my family and I expendable so that the coal barons can get rich? And Oh by the way they have tried to lease my land.
  • by James Location: Mansfield, OH on Dec 4, 2007 at 04:11 PM
    It seems that Mr Lewis takes exception to my views. I was raised by a hard working coal miner. I have no problems with men wanting to earn their living close to home. I also believe that some research would show that the majority of coal produced in KY ends up in foriegn countries. The electric plants in KY usually get the western coal for their power. Besides, I believe that Mr. Lewis may be one of those transplanted to the hill country for the purpose of continuing the rape. The truth hurts.
  • by Tracy Location: Creech on Dec 4, 2007 at 10:43 AM
    To all the Citizens for the Commonwealth, if you truly were concerned for the citizens in Eastern Ky you would be out collecting gifts for the needy, food for the hungry and help for our drug infested neighborhoods. Everyone in Eastern Ky knows that this region can't survive without coal. I agree that sometimes it looks bad when we mine the mountains. This is only a temporary eye sore that turns into a beautiful area tha can be used for pasture, golf courses, airports, and building sites.One of Eastern KY's most attractive tourist areas is on a strip mine on Black Mountain.Thousands come yearly to enjoy this travisity that strip mining caused. I think that the Citizens fot the Commonwealth like television time and this is the easiest way for them to make the news. With the State and Federal regulations in effect, I see a bright future for the coal industry
  • by Coal keeps your lights on! Location: Harlan Kentucky on Dec 4, 2007 at 09:23 AM
    I have yet to see the true pictures in the media of the end result of Mountain-top mining. It seems that the only photos that exist are of the mining in its most intense stage. If this is how surface mining leaves the landscape, I wonder how all those huge elk that were forced on the Eastern Ky reclaimed mines survive. Surely they don't survive on rock and dirt. Another thing... As far as the "out of state" coal companies mentioned earlier, who do you think they employ? Thousands of men and women work in the coal fields of eastern Kentucky to provide a living for their families. Those miners keep every business in eastern Kentucky open,which provides even more jobs. Also..I hear no complaints from the non-coal producing areas of Kentucky when they are given coal severance tax money (that these hard working miners provide) to better their roads and parks. These men and women are the True "Kentuckians for the Commonwealth". Try giving thanks to those men, instead of hugging your tree.
  • by Jeannie on Dec 4, 2007 at 08:46 AM
    Why is the state of Ky giving 100 million/yr to mining industry? Is the mining industry being paid to destroy Ky? Industries should be paying Ky because all the coal and the mountains will be gone some day. Shame on coal companies for raping and pillaging of Eastern Ky. Mountaintop removal does not create that many jobs in Eastern Kentucky, only a handful of jobs per site. What are all of you miners (and your childrenn) going to do when there is nothing left, not even communitiees, because of damage caused by MTR? Doesn't this practice lead to massive flooding in the immediate area?
  • by Ted Lewis Location: Mining Country- Ages, KY on Dec 4, 2007 at 06:15 AM
    I say to all the coal operators,QUIT- let 70% of the American population freeze to death in the dark, while they are starving. Most people in this country have no idea what coal is doing for them, from making that plastic bottle they just tossed out the window to powering the factorys' in your great state of Ohio, James. Without coal, the gas you used would be a steal at $3.00 a gal. It would probaly be more like $3.00 a pint. Coal generates about 70% of our energy needs in this country. Imagine your life if your electricty was off 255.5 days per year. Until someone comes up with a way to produce power more efficiently, the people of this country need to thank God for these people who are willing to work and produce their energy. When you sit down tonight at your pc instead of trying to cause problems see if you can figure out how to run this country without the energy produced by coal.Maybe some wind generators in Ohio would do, it-seems like they have a good supply hot air.
  • by Gregg Wagner on Dec 4, 2007 at 06:04 AM
    What will happen to Eastern Kentucky after the out of state coal companies get all the minerals from the ground and leave nothing but destruction? Never mention tourism please! No one wants to see this type of mess. Carr Creek State Park has had 4 mountains disappear since Thanksgiving 2006. I am disgusted.
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