Contributing Monkie V Ol Blak
Published on July 7, 2009
Photography by G Monkie
Looking at Daryl Hanna’s headlines as of late, you might get the impression she is just another Paris Hilton. Whoring herself out to green non-profits, looking for a few celebs willing to spend 5 minutes at green carpet events. Spewing green catch phrases such as, Hybrids are the cool way to go to save the planet and such. (Something Paris told us, as she drove off in her 90 ton suv hybrid, towing her Mercedes, wearing the latest in fox fur). Who does Daryl think she is fooling, right! Are you with me? Well if you are, you must be on some serious drugs or own a coal mine in West Virginia. Those good old Mountain Top Coal Mining bosses, in the heart of the West Virginia Coal Country want us all to believe Daryl Hanna is just another empty headed blonde celebrity, who needs to shut her mouth and stay out of their business. Lucky for us, she has a better idea. She is living her values, even if that means getting arrested in the process.
In a recent post on Huffingtonpost, Daryl Hanna writes about why she decided to fly to West Virginia just to get arrested.
Daryl Hanna: Why would I fly across the country on my own dime knowing I would most likely end up in jail in one of the poorest parts of America?
Well, have you ever heard of MTR?
Don’t feel bad, my friends are intelligent, well-read and informed people, but most of them had never heard of MTR (Mountain Top Removal) either.
So, I went to Coal River to help bring much needed attention to this hidden, criminal (but somehow legal) form of mining. I was honored to be joining an inspiringly brave group of concerned Americans, which included NASA climate scientist James Hansen who was among the first to sound the alarm on the climate crisis. The sharp, charismatic, 94 year old, former West Virginia U.S. Representative and Secretary of State Ken Hechler, who was the first congressman to introduce a Federal bill to abolish strip mining in 1971. (If passed the bill could have prevented this mess we find ourselves in.) And I was deeply moved to be arrested with those affected by MTR in Kentucky, and the many local residents fighting for their very lives, including a half dozen senior citizens, canes, walkers and all.
Mountain Top Removal is a devastatingly destructive form of mining and has already destroyed 2,000,000 acres in the Appalachian Mountains.
Coal companies have literally blown up over 500 mountain tops to access the coal seams and then dumped the refuse into the valleys below, killing over 3000 miles of headwater streams. The EPA just gave the go ahead for an additional 42 mountaintops to be blown off with another 6 permits pending.
Mountain Top Removal leaves behind a virtual hideous moonscape of devastated earth, billions of gallons of poisonous toxic sludge, and boarded up towns with dramatically high rates of cancer.
Don’t get me wrong, I have great respect for, and am deeply indebted to the miners working in coalmines and on MTR projects who risk their lives daily to bring power to our country. I understand they feel threatened by anything that might take away their jobs. And, I don’t want to see them lose more jobs, as 75% of mining jobs have already been lost to the machines and explosives of MTR.
While it takes fewer miners to remove coal with Mountain Top Removal, there are just as many dangers, accidents and fatalities! It is a cheaper way for the companies to mine and that’s why it’s becoming so pervasive.