picture - Shelby Lee Adams
This story from yesterday's Independent about coal-mining in Kentucky reminded me of lots of things. It reminded me of Indonesia, where the Mormon Mining Company of West Papua (aka Freeport McMoran) removes mountain tops, poisons water and displaces and dispatches the local people - almost the same as happens in Kentucky.It reminded me of Daniel Shea's recent work, and the older Appalachian work of Wendy Ewald, Shelby-Lee Adams and Susan Lipper. And it reminded me of great mining photograpy, especially that of Marcus Bleasdale and Sebastiao Salgado.
And most of all, when the article mentioned the failure of Obama or Clinton to take on the American mining lobby or defend the environment, it reminded me not to expect too much of whoever becomes the next US president.The Independent
The act of destroying a million-year-old mountain has several distinct stages. First it is earmarked for removal and the hardwood forest cover, containing over 500 species of tree per acre in this region, is bulldozed away. The trees are typically burnt rather than logged, because mining companies are not in the lumber business. Then topsoil is scraped away and high explosives laid in the sandstone. Thousands of blasts go off across the region every day, blowing up what the mining industry calls "overburden".
The rubble is then tipped into the valleys – more than 7,000 have already been filled – and more than 700 miles of rivers and streams have disappeared under rubble and thousands more soiled with toxic waste.
End Mountaintop Removal
Kentuckians for the Commonwealth