Actress, activist, and eastern Kentucky native Ashley Judd calls mountaintop removal the "Rape of Appalachia"
Judd made the comments during a speech to the White House Press Club.
Ashley Judd says in a 1 hour long speech, mountaintop removal is environmental genocide and should stop.
Local leaders and people whose livelihood depend on coal are upset she made these comments on a national stage.
“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,” Judd said.
Ashley Judd tells the White House Press Club mountaintop removal is destroying the Appalachian Mountains she loves.
“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,” Judd said.
“Ashley Judd is an egotistical brat from California who doesn't understand the culture, the heritage of what she calls hillbillies, and we're proud to be hillbillies,” Pike County Judge Executive Wayne T. Rutherford said.
Judd calls mountain top removal environmental genocide and accuses coal companies of spreading "propaganda" to show reclaimed mine sites are good for the area and mentions development on some sites like the Federal Penitentiary in Martin County and the Stonecrest Golf Course in Floyd County.
“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,” Judd said.
“I'm a hillbilly and I love to play golf,” State Senator Johnny Ray Turner said.
Stonecrest officials say 26,000 rounds of golf were played there last year and they bring in one million dollars of revenue per year.
“I think the statements she made are off base and I'm not trying to bash her, but I think mountaintop removal has been good for eastern Kentucky and the economy in eastern Kentucky,” Senator Turner said.
“She doesn't realize it when she gets up with lights, the lights she uses to put on her make-up, the lights come from coal,” Rutherford said.
Judd ends her speech saying she will continue to fight the permit process and look for new clean energy sources.
Senator Johnny Ray Turner and Prestonsburg Tourism officials are inviting Judd to play a round of golf at Stonecrest and tour the area and discuss her concerns.