Horrifying Effects of Coal Mining

by Ben Cohen

If you’re not reading Matt Osborne’s excellent coverage of the Netroot Nation event in Pittsburgh, do so. Here’s Matt on people invited to speak about the devastating effects of coal mining and mountain top removal:

Bob Kincaid

is a ninth generation Appalachian. His ancestors arrived before anyone

knew about the coal under the mountains of West Virginia; they are

buried in mountain graveyards. The coal companies, he says, consider

the remains of their ancestors as part of their waste, to push into the

valleys with the sludge. The consequences of mountaintop removal, as he

describes them, are little short of genocidal. The Appalachian people are being erased.


about the ubiquity of “Clean Coal” ads, Kincaid calls for his

grandchildren — the eleventh generation of his family — to be

protected. “Are those babies Americans too?” He asks. “I cannot say

with any certainty that the United States of America thinks that they


Well-water comes out of the tap looking like tomato soup

and smelling of chemicals. “That is not what you do to an American,” he

says. City water gets piped in, but the coal companies don’t pay for

the water to replace the free water they poisoned. “Poisoning a well is

one of the highest sins in scripture,” he says. Coal companies are

violating the most basic moral codes and calling it progress.


hates the label “environmentalist.” This, he says, is a human-rights

issue. The people of Appalachia are being treated as not quite as human

as the rest of us, and we do not have the luxury of time.

Ben Cohen is the editor and founder of The Daily Banter. He lives in Washington DC where he does podcasts, teaches Martial Arts, and tries to be a good father. He would be extremely disturbed if you took him too seriously.