Debate On Mountaintop Removal Continues

By: Danielle Morgan Email
By: Danielle Morgan Email

Earlier this week, religious leaders visited Perry County to pray for mountaintop removal to end calling it immoral and unbiblical. Tonight, we meet a part-time pastor who works for Teco Coal Company. He says the process is not only good for the economy, but is in fact biblical too.

Religious leaders prayed for the end, of what they call, the destruction of creation by mountaintop removal.

Paul Matney and Dave Blankenship of Teco Coal Company both agree that overlooking a current surface mining operation looks destructive but when you overlook areas like the Raven Rock Golf Course, you can see the good things that surface mining leaves behind.

"Raven Rock started out as a nine hole golf course. It is now a full 18 hole golf course. You can live on a golf course with city water and city sewer. If you look over my other shoulder, you will see the gateway regional industrial park," Matney said.

During the last four years, Dave Blankenship says he's overseen more than one million trees planted by Teco Coal for reforestation.

"You're looking at probably six to seven hundred trees planter per acre," Blankenship said.

As for calling the process unbiblical, Matney who is also a part-time pastor, says the very first book of the bible supports the work.

"God gave man dominion over all the creatures of the Earth and we are to be wise stewards," Matney said.

Matney said if people in Eastern Kentucky wanted to stop mountaintop removal, it's up to them. All it takes is the property owners deciding not to lease their land for the process.

Dave Blankenship says 100 percent of Teco Coal's mined land is either developed for business and residential living or it is reforested and unless Teco owns the land, it's always up to the land owners of Eastern Kentucky.

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