The article covering the coal-miner protest in Washington, D.C., was incomplete.
It stated that trees are cut, soil removed, rock blasted out and the coal mined, which ruins the streams. That was the total description of mining coal by mountaintop removal.
Left out was any mention of the reclamation process. Trees are left on the lower portion of the mountain and the streams are protected from the loose soil. After mining, the land is reclaimed by grading the mountain into rolling hills and sowing cool- and warm-season grasses. The result is meadows unparalleled by anything you will see anywhere in the U.S.
This land has become a haven for wildlife, particularly the elk introduced into Kentucky some years ago. They graze the lush grasses on the tops and cool themselves in the hollows in the summer. They have clean, pure water to drink. All this has produced an elk herd that is at least equal to those in the West.
Being responsible for the elk herd in Land Between The Lakes, having hunted them in the west, and having observed them in Eastern Kentucky, I can say this with no reservation.
Either the reporter is guilty of poor investigation before writing the article or is promoting a personal bias and ideology. My guess is both. The Herald-Leader is guilty of printing inaccurate articles causing the uninformed reader to develop a jaded view of an industry that has meant so much to our state. Shame on you.
I am attending Appalachia Rising, which started Friday and ends Tuesday in Washington, D.C., to honor the people of the coalfields.
They might not have safe water to drink or any reason to think flyrock won't destroy their houses tonight. But they have the strength and tenacity to speak out publicly, lobby our deaf leaders and search for a humane future in an Appalachia so rapidly being destroyed.
I renew a standing invitation to everyone reading this letter to visit our part of the state. I live in extreme southeastern Kentucky in the little coal camp of Lynch, located in Harlan County. Our little town was constructed about 1918 at the foot of Kentucky's highest peak, Black Mountain. U.S. Steel Corporation built our camp to house coal miners and their families to mine Black Mountain coal.
Lynch is a proud little town and has had many good people grow up and make our town proud of them. Many have left, but many wonderfully good folks remain and continue to make their homes in Lynch.
Our town is bordered by Benham, another coal camp built by International Harvester. It is also a beautiful camp filled with many good folks.
I hope you consider the invite. We've got a lot to offer. Beautiful mountains (leaves will put on a show in weeks to come); delicious water; Portal 31, a real underground rail-ride mine tour; Kentucky Coal Mine Museum; Benham Schoolhouse Inn; good home cooking restaurants; Kingdom Come State Park and so much more. You might even see a bear or an elk. If you've been here before you know what I mean.
Simply, our mountains that are still standing are some of God's best work and I am so proud to live here with his mountains. Can't go to the WEG? Come see our mountains before they're gone. Once they're gone they're gone.