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This Saturday evening my home was vandalized by 4 drunken men who pelted my home and me with rocks from their pick up truck just 30 feet from my front door. Earlier this month, my home was attacked with beer bottles which broke another window.
I’m a photojournalist embedded in Rock Creek, WV, covering the human and environmental costs of mountaintop removal coal mining in Appalachia. I moved from NYC in 2008 to Rock Creek, WV to work and live in the field full-time. I embedded with Climate Ground Zero, a pressure campaign to end mountaintop removal by utilizing non-violent civil disobedience. In 2009, I was personally sued by the nation’s third largest coal operator, Massey Energy, for trespassing on their sites to cover the protests.
The battle continues with no clear end in site for the most atrocious human rights violations in the United States. Coal companies are mowing down the Appalachian forests, the most bio-diverse temperate forests on the planet. Then they are shoving the rich soil and loose rock into the valleys below. Then they blast the mountain apart to reach the seams of coal situated like layers in a cake below.
The communities below and around these operations are devastated and destroyed. The head-water streams are being poisoned with heavy metals or simply buried under hundreds of feet of crushed mountaintops.
500 mountains are gone. Thousands of headwater streams, that feed the southeastern United States are dead.
The local Fox News affiliate, WCHS-TV, is airing a blatant piece of yellow journalism this week entitled, “Attack on Coal,” as if a rock can be attacked. Promos for this multi-part one week special ran this weekend during NASCAR along with newly minted propaganda – a new “Clean Coal” advertisement. I believe that the yellow journalism will stir up trouble, whip up the fear that is already present in this uncertain economy, in this mono-economy of West Virginia that is completely bought and paid for by the coal industry.
Check out these photos on my group’s FB page,
Spread the word if you can. My goal is to shine a light as bright as I can on these actions.
Don’t know much about this issue? Well you are probably connected. SEe here, http://www.ilovemountains.org/my-connection
Thank you for your attention. I appreciate any small action you can take. In 2010 I published an exposé on the issue called, Dragline. Please contact me if you would like a copy. Dragline was recognized by the Robert F Kennedy Center in their annual journalism awards in Maya 2011 for best domestic photography. Appalachia Watch welcomes visitors. Please contact us for lodging information.
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