Now it's Big Coal's turn to pick up the tab for the Tea Party. Under the guise of "celebrating the American coal miner," an infamous Big Coal front lobby group has bankrolled the buses, hotels and meals to bring Appalachian coal mining supporters to DC.
Proponents of mountaintop removal hung a banner in eastern Kentucky, mocking Ashley Judd for her efforts to raise awareness of the environmental, economic and cultural damage being wrought by the world's worst coal mining.
Instead of clinging to the status quo, West Virginia's elected officials must use this tragedy as an opportunity to ask difficult questions about the future of coal in West Virginia. Here are some of mine.
This Spring, as this cloud of volcanic ash flows over the skies of France, I think of the West Virginia miners who died last week and their grieving families. Appalachia is also a personal subject for me.