Letters to the Editor

Letters to the Editor: Aug. 16

Enemies of coal must be long list

Let's see, King Coal makes no apologies for targeting its enemies. The only thing Roger Nicholson of International Coal Group forgot to write in his Aug. 9 column was just who coal's enemies are.

Workers would be at the top of that list, especially those who believe worker safety should have priority over maximum production and profit. Massey Energy CEO Don Blankenship taught us all about this. But that tragic story is just the most recently dramatic in a long history of disregard for workers.

Then there are those folks who like to breathe clean air, who hope we aren't one of the 745 Kentuckians who die prematurely every year from air pollution from coal burning power plants.

We hope we're luckier than the 1,000 former coal miners who die from black lung every year.

Then there are those pesky people who believe we all have a right to drink safe water. Or those near the strip mines who want to protect their property values and live without fear of blasted boulders landing on their house. Such unreasonable people, those enemies of coal.

It's hard to believe any politician would want the endorsement of the coal industry.

Thankfully there are a few who try to hold King Coal accountable, who put coal miner safety, clean air and safe drinking water above campaign contributions.

Sarah Blanton

Berea

Weak justification

I have two questions about Brad Parke's Aug. 2 column, "Judd has little credibility to criticize coal mining." Why do so-called "outsiders" have no right to question mountaintop removal? Mountaintop removal does not create jobs. Running huge draglines takes far less manpower than underground mining.

My second question: Why do the coal companies always hide behind the protection of Appalachian culture? Blowing up the mountains of Appalachia is a truly Orwellian way to protect this region's culture.

Margaret Ricketts

Berea

Big Coal out for itself

Last winter, when the courts ruled corporations could buy elections, I was afraid of what would happen. Now, it's come to pass. "Coal execs taking aim at Democrats," was a July 28 headline. Now, they can buy political allies legally.

Yes, coal companies can buy their way through most anything nowadays, or at least tie things up in court until their dilemma just goes away (during Republican administrations). Big Coal will buy its way around any rules or regulations, as long as it can save a buck.

As a result of the court's decision, my fear is now more than ever for the coal miner, all coal miners.

Most miners in southeastern Kentucky have been led to believe they have no choice but to praise the companies they work for or otherwise be fired.

Normally, if miners have a safety complaint, they are afraid to tell anyone for fear of losing their jobs. I just hope all miners realize this when they vote in November.

A vote for the companies' political choices is a vote against the miners' safety, you can be assured.

It's easy to realize that if the company opposes a certain office-seeker it's because they fear the politician will eventually burden them with additional mine safety rules and regulations that will cost the company additional expenses. Think of your safety, miners. Vote smart.

Stanley Sturgill

Lynch

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