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Blog: Ashley Judd “The rape of Appalachia”

By: Neil Middleton
By: Neil Middleton

Ashley Judd’s comments on mountain top removal mining have sparked a firestorm of controversy in her native Eastern Kentucky.

During a recent speech to the National Press Club in Washington, Judd called mountain top removal “environmental genocide.”  She says the process is “the state-sanctioned, federal government supported, coal industry operated, rape of Appalachia.”

Judd has long been an outspoken critic of the mountain top removal.

C-Span carried Judd’s hour-long speech on its website.


Here are some of the excerpts from Ashley Judd’s speech.

"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."

"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."

"Children in eastern Kentucky draw creeks black.  They don’t know they're supposed to run clear."

Judd points out the Appalachian Mountains are the oldest in North America, possibly in the world. She questions whether mountain top removal would be allowed in any other historic mountain ranges.

"I am here to tell you, mountaintop removal coal mining simply would not happen in any other mountain range in the United States.  It is utterly inconceivable that the Smokies would be blasted, the Rockies razed, the Sierra Nevadas flattened, that bombs the equivalent to Hiroshima would be detonated every single week for three decades.  The fact that the Appalachians are the Appalachians makes this environmental genocide possible and permissible."

Judd calls mountain top removal “strip mining on steroids.”  She says coal companies launch massive PR campaigns to spread their “incessant propaganda” to “celebrate the site as an example of how good for Appalachia mountain top removal coal mining is.”

“Why they even built a prison on one former site.  Guess what?  The foundation subsided and the locals call it sink sink.”

Judd also made an apparent reference to StoneCrest Golf Course in Prestonsburg.

“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.”

I should mention Eastern Kentucky is home to the nation’s oldest continuous played golf course.  The Middlesboro Country Club opened in 1889.

Judd also urged the Press Club members to “commit your journalistic integrity to stop mountain top removal immediately.”

I received this email from the Bell County Chamber of Commerce. It was entitled: Ashley Judd degrading the people of Eastern Kentucky

Please watch this clip, in the attachment, of Ashley Judd showing her ignorance of the real situation in Eastern Kentucky... For the full video please visit press.org and look for Ashley Judd..  I am appalled that she would stand in front of the world and talk about "Her People" in a degrading manner! I, for one, do not want to stand by and let her tell the story of Eastern Kentucky WRONG just because it doesn't fit into her political agenda. This is a video clip for the National Press Club in Washington D.C. that was nationally televised on C-SPAN.  So we do have a reason to be upset with her, please forward this video to everyone in your contact list also...

Thank You

Robert Lincks

Bell County Chamber of Commerce



I’ve received numerous phone calls expressing the same outrage.  I’ve also received a few calls in support of Ashley Judd’s argument. 

Now, I’d like to hear what you think.  I encourage you to listen to her entire speech and then let me know you’re your thoughts.  I’ll share your comments here on the blog.

Thanks for making WYMT-TV your source for news and information.  We appreciate your trust.

God Bless America!


Neil Middleton <><

WYMT Mountain News

Appreciate Freedom – Thank a Vet!

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