Unfolding with the plaintive air of an elegy, Blood on the Mountain captures mining companies' blatant disregard for the health and lives of coal miners -- and the mountains they call home -- as a timely reminder of the legacy of an essentially outlaw industry and its 150-year reign in West Virginia.
While I love to write about clean energy solutions, Appalachian transition and coalfield regeneration, and the inspiring regenerative city movement, to ignore the deadly impacts of mountaintop removal and coal mining is a betrayal to the residents living on the front lines of coal mining mayhem today.
A powerful notice of intent to sue the Obama administration was filed by attorney Patrick C. McGinley for its failure to prepare and implement a federal program for West Virginia's documented oversight and violations of required strip mining regulations. His brief on behalf of several environmental groups reads like a spellbinding rap sheet of an incorrigible offender.
Fourteen months after poorly regulated coal-washing chemicals contaminated the Elk River in West Virginia, coal country residents and supporters are gearing up for an epic showdown on March 16 with the state's Department of Environmental Protection -- and the U.S. Congress -- over the mounting death toll and health crisis from mountaintop removal strip mining.
Over the years, it has been sickening to watch politicians, coal company hacks and sycophantic journalists defer judgment and split hairs over the connections between massive mountaintop removal operations and public health hazards in the same way black lung disease for coal miners had been denied for decades.