Some environmentalists say coal mining is destroying the region, while others say it's what keeps the area moving forward.
Now one group is planning on spreading its message about coal to everyone they can.
Perry County Clerk Haven King says through coal, he and many others are able to live. But in a recent Kentuckians for the Commonwealth meeting, environmentalists spoke out against mining, citing bad water, dust, and loss of wildlife as some of the reasons why certain forms of mining need to stop. But Friday night, King held his own meeting with a plan to educate the public on the benefits of coal mining and promote one of the regions oldest natural resources.
For many in the mountains, coal mining puts food on the table and pays the bills.
“We are doing a good job. We don't need to apologize for being a coal miner. I am proud to be a coal miner. We don't need to apologize for being a coal miner,” says King.
Environmentalists continue to speak out against mining, and that's why Perry King says he formed the “Coal Mining: Our Future” Coalition. King says the group is already making itself clear on where they stand.
“We were able to stop that stream saver bill from coming out of committee because our people wrote, and we processed 1,150,000 letters that we took to those legislators,” says King.
King along with some local coal companies make up the group with a clear purpose to educate the public and promote the benefits of coal mining.
Don Gibson with International Coal Group says besides the elk population flourishing and the economy growing, the benefits of coal are endless.
“Not only do you promote tree growth, you protect areas from flooding. You know how long has it been since we've had water standing in the streets of Hazard,” says Gibson.
Gibson says he understands the need to protect the environment, and says the coal industry has made adjustments.
“You know, we are not doing anything adversely different then what we have done in the last 30 years. If anything, we are doing things more environmental friendly,” says Gibson.
Perry County’s Clerk says their advertising campaign will begin soon.
King says he plans to roll-out a huge promotion of coal at the Black Gold Festival in September.