Books & Culture
An exploration of Mountaintop removal mining and its effects
on the land and people of Kentucky and Appalachia ---
Thirty-five Kentuckians write against mountaintop removal in this collection of essays, fiction, and poetry. In April of 2005 a group of Kentucky writers participated in a "Mountaintop Removal Tour" organized by Kentuckians For The Commonwealth. After witnessing first-hand the devastation from this type of mining, the inadequacy of reclamation, and hearing from residents regarding the effects of mountaintop-removal mining on the land and the people who live there, this book was conceived.
This book calls for responsible mining practices and an end to the unnecessary destruction and devastation of the land, people, and economy of the eastern Kentucky coalfields and the planet caused by mountaintop removal. Every day many thousands of Kentuckians and residents of the Ohio and Mississippi valley drink water from streams that originate in the coal-mining region of Kentucky. It’s not just a local problem.
"How does this region, which is home to one of the richest and most biologically diverse forests in the world, come to be reduced to rubble, debris, choked and poisoned streams, and failed reclamation projects? As writers from Missing Mountains make plain, we have lost the ability to see clearly and concretely, and with an eye to what is valuable and enduring."
"Readers often look at the word 'environment' and automatically think of streams, trees, mountains. But an environment is also made up of people. This is a collection of writing that remembers the children who do not have good water to drink or bathe in, the people who travel unsafe roads or live beneath sites that have already sent boulders crashing through their homes. This book calls to account a government that prefers to produce coal for our energy-consuming nation in the quickest, cheapest way, rather than to find a safe, more efficient and respectful method, one which would also create jobs for the region."
"For 130 years now, we’ve been told over and over again that coal is good for Kentucky, but the numbers tell a different story. More than 7.8 billion tons of coal have been mined here in that time. But despite the extraction of vast mineral wealth from our land, Kentucky continues its uphill struggle to provide a decent living, a good education, and a clean environment for its people. And the counties of the eastern coalfields, with the richest natural resources of all, remain among the poorest in the entire state."
"Eastern Kentucky, in its
natural endowments of timber and minerals, is the wealthiest region of
our state, and it has now experienced more than a century of intense
corporate 'free enterprise,' with the result that it is more
impoverished and has suffered more ecological damage than any other
region. The worst inflicter of poverty and ecological damage has been
the coal industry, which has taken from the region a wealth probably
incalculable, and has imposed the highest and most burdening 'costs
of production' upon the land and the people. Many of these costs
are, in the nature of things, not repayable. Some were paid by people
now dead and beyond the reach of compensation. Some are scars on the
land that will not be healed in any length of time imaginable by