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New film exposes the environmental consequences of mountaintop coal mining

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  • New film exposes the environmental consequences of mountaintop coal mining

    Film review of The Last Mountain from The New York Times:

    An Environmental Horror Story

    Thoroughly fed up but refusing to give in, the residents of the Coal River valley in West Virginia endure earsplitting explosions, raining boulders, toxic sludge and poisoned wells. Their tormentor is the union-busting, environmental-law-flouting Massey Energy Company and its use of the controversial mining strategy called mountaintop removal. Their solution is a grass-roots campaign to force the company to cease and desist, and Bill Haney’s furious documentary, “The Last Mountain,” is completely on board.

    But the fate of the peak in question — which Massey plans to decapitate like a perfectly boiled egg — is only part of this film’s heartbreaking agenda. The rest is an environmental horror story filled with imperiled schoolchildren, silica dust, and cancer and autism clusters that defy statistical logic. Coming down like a ton of dross on those he believes responsible, Mr. Haney weaves scientific testimony, contentious debates and moving personal stories into a persuasive indictment of Massey in particular and fossil-derived energy in general.

    While on-screen notes inform us that hundreds of Appalachian mountains and a million acres of forest have already been flattened, the film draws power from the pain and debris left behind. Doleful guitar twangs accompany shocking aerial views of pancaked wastelands bristling with jagged rocks and scrubby grasses. And if Mr. Haney sometimes struggles to find focus, he has no trouble locating heroes, including the doggedly energetic Robert F. Kennedy Jr. and a slew of stalwart locals and fearless outsiders. And the black heart of coal country — and, as the film shows, our national energy debate — has never seemed so in need of white knights.


    Apparently, there are "over 600 coal plants in the United States." And, they "contributed 45.9 percent of the power generated in the United States." Obviously, without coal energy the US would completely shutdown. To get a grasp of how massive the coal distribution system is, watch the Frontline documentary Heat, which has a large segment about it.

    But, this Mountaintop removal mining has got to stop. It's basically an environmental catastrophe that the mining companies have been getting away with for far too long. Of course, it all boils down to money - mountaintop removal mining is much less expensive than conventional mining - because it's just cheaper and more profitable to destroy the earth and make people sick than be conscience of the destruction.
    |TG-X| mp40x



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  • #2
    Re: New film exposes the environmental consequences of mountaintop coal mining

    Ruining the environment... well, humans stopped being part of the ecosystem once we mastered fire, so we're bound to destroy everything we touch. I'm apathetic towards the environment considering the energy must come from somewhere until we move forward from fossil fuels.

    For me, it is the impact upon the lives of nearby residents for the sake of $$$ that is unconscionable.

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    • #3
      Re: New film exposes the environmental consequences of mountaintop coal mining

      It is a tuff problem. A lot of those folks that live around that area depend on coal for jobs. I've never seen as many pro-coal bumper sticker until I moved to that area (still see a lot even though I moved further away). There are those who are against it, but there are plenty who ride around with bumper stickers that say "THANKS TO COAL, I CAN PAY MY BILLS."



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      • #4
        Re: New film exposes the environmental consequences of mountaintop coal mining

        Originally posted by KoopaTroopa View Post
        For me, it is the impact upon the lives of nearby residents for the sake of $$$ that is unconscionable.
        The coal companies have been abusing workers and displacing families throughout American history. Many of these abuses ended up leading coal workers and local citizens to the point of armed insurrection

        Anyone ever heard of the Matewan Massacre or the Battle of Blair Mountain?

        The Battle of Blair Mountain, the culmination of the largest armed insurrection in the United States since the Civil War, ended on September 4, 1921.
        For five days in late August and early September 1921, in Logan County, West Virginia, between 10,000 and 15,000 coal miners confronted an army of police and strikebreakers backed by coal operators during a struggle by the miners to unionize the southwestern West Virginia coalfields. Their struggle ended only after approximately one million rounds were fired, and the United States Army intervened by presidential order. Source.
        The largest armed insurrection in US history after The Civil War was The Battle of Blair Mountain - miners taking on the coal companies and the government in an effort to unionize. Most people don't realize this ever happened - I didn't either till I watched a film about it several years ago - but it's pretty interesting.

        Apparently, some people haven't forgotten about it. They're commemorating the event with a march against mountaintop removal mining.

        Blair Mountain March Starts Today

        Hundreds of activists plan to start a march of 50 miles Monday from Marmet to Blair Mountain in a show of opposition to mountaintop removal mining.

        The march commemorates the 90th anniversary of the Battle of Blair Mountain. That incident included more than 10,000 union workers marching form Marmet to organize non-unionized miners along the way. It ended with federal troops being called in.

        The nearly 600 people who plan to take part in the event could cause some problems, according to area law enforcement.

        Much of the route includes small, rural, two-lane roads on which thousands of coal trucks travel every day.

        Police say they will keep a close eye on the event to ensure public safety.

        Organizers say they understand the risks involved, and that's something they're willing to take.

        Those taking part in the even hope to prevent any plans to have mountaintop removal mining on Blair Mountain, which was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 2009.

        The March will start at 9 a.m. Monday and end Saturday.

        There will be several speakers along the way, including environmental lawyer Robert F. Kennedy Jr. on Saturday.
        Last month was the 97th Anniversary of another coal miner's tragedy, The Ludlow Massacre.

        Watch the video, it's a great synopsis of what the coal companies have gotten away with for decades.

        Under the command of the Rockefeller family, the National Guard fires at strikers and their families to suppress a strike of 12,000 workers
        |TG-X| mp40x



        Register for the Forums! | Get on Teamspeak! | Play Squad! | Join Discord! | Support Tactical Gamer!

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        • #5
          Re: New film exposes the environmental consequences of mountaintop coal mining

          I agree...mountain coal mining is freaking appalling. Yet all this, and "environmentalists" STILL seem to be staunchly opposed to nuclear power! That could be a huge help in saving these mountains and keeping the air cleaner.
          "Common sense is not so common." -Voltaire

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          • #6
            Re: New film exposes the environmental consequences of mountaintop coal mining

            I'm not against Nuclear power, as long as it's no where near our shore lines, major faults, and as long as enough oversight and precautions are made. After the aftermath of Japan, we would say with sarcasm, good thing we don't have a nuclear power plant within 25 miles of us along the shoreline:
            http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/San_Ono...rating_Station

            Nuclear power, is and always will be one hell of a way to boil water. We have wind turbine technology and I remember hearing a plan to use underwater turbines deep in the ocean water that would be enough to power the entire US.

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            • #7
              Re: New film exposes the environmental consequences of mountaintop coal mining

              How much power could you potentially get from cooking meth? I'm always hearing horror stories about people blowing up their meth labs and risking burning down the neighborhood. With that kind of energy release, surely this could be used as an energy source?
              Dude, seriously, WHAT handkerchief?

              snooggums' density principal: "The more dense a population, the more dense a population."

              Iliana: "You're a great friend but if we're ever chased by zombies I'm tripping you."

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              • #8
                Re: New film exposes the environmental consequences of mountaintop coal mining

                It's a violent chemical reaction. The issue might not be the actual energy release but the cost efficiency on the materials, including what gets destroyed by such a violent reaction. With Nuclear power it's as simple as putting radioactive material into water which then causes the water to boil and turn into steam providing steam power to turbines. With a meth lab explosion it would be an instantaneous explosion the closest analogy I could provide would be a gas engine and that took a long time to perfect and even then we still get crappy performance.

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                • #9
                  Re: New film exposes the environmental consequences of mountaintop coal mining

                  But note that too much radioactive material in too small a space also results in "an earth-shattering kaboom". It took some time and lots of engineering before anyone figured out how to get power out of it, and it's still difficult to do so safely.

                  Anyone know the chemistry of meth cooking? (It's useful to know what NOT to do!)
                  Dude, seriously, WHAT handkerchief?

                  snooggums' density principal: "The more dense a population, the more dense a population."

                  Iliana: "You're a great friend but if we're ever chased by zombies I'm tripping you."

                  Comment

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