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Commentary :: Human Rights
BTL:West Virgina Activist Battles Mountain Top Removal Coal Mining
31 Oct 2009
BETWEEN THE LINES Syndicated Radio Newsmagazine
West Virgina Activist Battles Mountain Top Removal Coal Mining

Talk by Larry Gibson, activist, recorded and produced by Melinda Tuhus

Coal-fired power plants produce almost half the energy used in the U.S., and create almost 40 percent of global warming carbon emissions, as well as many other toxic pollutants, including mercury. It's also a dirty deal at the production end, especially the relatively new method of coal extraction known as mountaintop removal mining. That's where coal companies, using tons of explosives, blast the tops off Appalachian mountain ridges to get at the thin seams of coal underneath. They drop the resulting rocks and clay into the valleys below, burying streams and brooks. So far, the process has destroyed more than 800 square miles of land and buried more than a thousand miles of waterways. Coal companies also inject toxic coal slurry into the mountains, where it poses a risk of spilling onto the countryside below, threatening homes and schools.

Larry Gibson lived with his extended family on the top of Kayford Mountain in southern West Virginia for generations, until land companies swindled his relatives out of their property and leased it to Massey Energy. The company blasted the top off the mountain and created a huge moonscape where a diverse ecosystem used exist. Gibson has held onto a tiny piece of land, where he hosts both locals and visitors who want to see what mountain-top removal has done to the land.

Between The Lines' Melinda Tuhus visited Gibson on Kayford Mountain and recorded a talk he gave to 100 college students on Oct. 17 who were there as part of Mountain Justice Fall Summit. What follows is a short excerpt.

Contact Larry Gibson at (304) 542-1134 or visit his website at

Related Links:

* Coal River Mountain Watch at (304) 854-2182 or

Real Audio:


LISTEN to this week's half-hour program of Between The Lines by clicking on one of the links below:


DOWNLOAD the MP3 by visiting:

VIEW the Between the Lines website by clicking on the link below:


"Between The Lines" is a half-hour syndicated radio news magazine that each week features a summary of under-reported news stories and interviews with activists and journalists who offer progressive perspectives on international, national and regional political, economic and social issues. Because "Between The Lines" is independent of all publications, media networks or political parties, we are able to bring a diversity of voices to the airwaves generally ignored or marginalized by the major media. For more information on this week's topics and to check out our text archive listing topics and guests presented in previous programs visit:
"Between the Lines," WPKN 89.5 FM's weekly radio news magazine can be heard Tuesdays at 5:30 p.m. ET; Wednesdays at 8 a.m. ET and Saturdays at 2 p.m. ET (Wednesday's show airs at 7:30 a.m. ET during fundraising months of April and October).
For an email subscription of "Between The Lines Weekly Summary" which features a RealAudio link to the week's program for Between The Lines, send an email to btlsummary-subscribe (at)
For an email subscription of "Between The Lines Q&A" which features a RealAudio link and weekly transcript to one of the interviews featured on Between The Lines, send an email to btlqa-subscribe (at)
betweenthelines (at)
Distributed by Squeaky Wheel Productions
©2009 Between The Lines. All Rights Reserved.
See also:

This work is in the public domain
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