Why the Government Should NOT Fund Tree Planting on MTR Sites

Posted in Nature, Save Appalachia with tags , , , , , on August 14, 2009 by ezlnwv

According to the AP,  “The Obama administration is mulling a proposal for a new jobs program with the aim of planting trees on Appalachian mountaintops that have been scalped by mining companies in search of coal.” The money would go to a group called the Appalachian Regional Reforestation Initiative. On the surface, this seems like a great way to reclaim mountaintop removal sites and at the same time bring jobs to the region.

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Earl Ray Tomblin Wants to be Governor

Posted in Save Appalachia with tags , , , , on July 31, 2009 by ezlnwv

[I wrote this about two years ago, when I found out that Tomblin was boasting to mountaintop removal opponents that he was going to be the next governor.]

Earl Ray Tomblin is the President of West Virginia’s State Senate and he wants to be governor.  Tellingly, for 35 years he has  represented Logan County, arguably the most corrupt county in the nation.  Logan’s failing sunshine review grade and the latest vote buying scandal only scratch the surface. 

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Don’t Let Them Tell You Strip-mining is Safer for the Workers

Posted in Save Appalachia with tags , , , , on July 28, 2009 by ezlnwv

Today, another strip-miner died when the excavator he was operating rolled into a pond.   Doubtless Patriot Coal is more concerned about losing the excavator.

This marks the 9th surface mine fatality of 2009 in the United States. There have been two deep mine deaths this year.

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The True Costs of Coal: A Very Brief Introduction

Posted in Save Appalachia with tags , , , , , , on July 23, 2009 by ezlnwv

The social harm caused by coal is enormous.

Of course there is the obvious horror of mountaintop removal. I once led a discussion with coalfield residents in which we brainstormed about 100 of its horrible effects, ranging from the disappearance of wildlife to the boulders that were crashing in nearby homes.

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Massey Comes to Power

Posted in Save Appalachia, Social and Political Commentary with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on July 17, 2009 by ezlnwv

To celebrate the DVD reissue of the 1986 film The Mine War on Blackberry Creek, Appalshop is streaming the documentary in its entirety (28 minutes) on the web for free.  In 1984, Massey began a push to break the union along the West Virginia and Kentucky border. But union miners refused to give away their high wages, pensions, benefits, and independence without a struggle.  Compelled by the blood their ancestors spilled to give them their rights, and in solidarity with South Africans working in slave conditions in Massey mines across the globe, union miners struggled intensely for two and a half years against company goons, amoral scabs, and a state police force which might as well have been on king coal’s payroll.

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Blair Mountain Removed from National Historic Registry

Posted in Save Appalachia with tags , , , , , on July 6, 2009 by ezlnwv

Thanks to the efforts of the mountaintop removal industry and the politicians who do their bidding, the site of the nation’s largest worker rebellion will be delisted from the National Historic Registry.

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Make a Statement: Skip the Tolls

Posted in Social and Political Commentary, Uncategorized with tags , , , , on July 2, 2009 by ezlnwv

Update (2018): this blog has not been updated in ten years. It was just announced that the tolls will soon double, from $2 to $4. This will pose an extreme hardship to the people of southern West Virginia. Why not put the tolls in the eastern or northern panhandles instead of the very poorest region in the state?

Back in 2009, when the tolls were last increased, we were promised that the increase was necessary so the tolls could be removed by 2019.



Despite public outcry, the WV Parkways Authority, with the support of Governor Manchin, exacted a 60% toll increase on the West Virginia turnpike: a highway that runs through some of the poorest regions in the state. Thus, the same people who are struggling the most in this recession will feel the brunt of the increase. Tax the poor because they can’t afford to fight back.

There are three toll booths on the turnpike. On this post, I will give you directions to get around all of them.  Skipping some of the booths is surprisingly easy, while avoiding others can be a little troublesome.  If you know of an easier way, please comment.

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