Will history repeat?

Published 5:13 pm Wednesday, February 27, 2019


Recently, while attending the We Are All Union Hill Program, I had some thoughts I would like to share. My wife and I have been volunteering for two decades in central Appalachia (eastern Kentucky), and are very familiar with the “King Coal Story.” We have witnessed the devastation in peoples’ lives, such as Black Lung disease, flash methane fires and mine cave-ins. We have seen the wreckage caused by diesel/fertilizer blasting during mountain-top removal, contaminating ground water and by sludge pond leakage, destroying streams and wildlife. We saw a house upset from its foundation and sitting in the middle of a road from the shocks of explosives. Though the coal industry is waning, the damage to folks’ lives and the environment will continue for generations.

It is my opinion that this horrible story is the result of runaway “corporate greed” and I would posit, a form of “corporate racism,” where mineral rights were stolen from illiterate mountain people, many immigrants to this country. Today there is ample evidence that coal barons were (and are) in the pockets of politicians and safety regulations were (and still are) ignored.

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A sad effect is that most of the profits from minerals went out of Appalachia and to large out-of-state corporations. Very little has been directed to correct the destruction.

I see parallels between this saga and the ACP/compressor station account. I speculate that the $7 billion (and rising) spent could be used by Dominion/Duke to install renewable solar/wind power here and beautiful, bucolic Buckingham could become the first county in the country to rely totally on clean electricity!

Bill Kemp