‘I’ve seen first hand what is happening to people living around coal mining’

Chuck Nelson.
PHOTO/BRANDON LAVOIE

 

WEST VIRGINIA — I hope you know the health impacts from living in an area surrounded by mountaintop removal operations, and how coal mining has destroyed our water, air, and our beautiful communities. I know in our area, a man doesn’t have much opportunity as to what he does for a living and supporting a family. And that’s not our fault, but that’s exactly how this industry intended it to be. We live in a sacrificial area.

Sure I worked in the mines, and was born and raised in Sylvester, West Virginia. That’s until I spoke up about how this criminal enterprise was destroying the community I loved. I saw neighbors, family, and friends getting sick and dying with cancer, kidney disease, heart problems, respiratory problems. Then they took my job and I was forced to relocate. Since forced into retirement, I’ve worked with scientists, biologists, professors, doctors, US Geological Survey, and I’ve seen first hand what is happening to people living in and around coal mining communities, especially with Mountain Top Removal. The public is denied the information that we have a right to know.

If you think these companies have our best interests in mind, that’s just not true. And, it’s a criminal act what they are doing and allowed to do. I think the world of coal miners, but they are fed misinformation. History has always told us that the coal company has never been a friend of the coal miner, and today, it’s even gone way further, and it’s wrong.

There was and still is a depopulation plan in effect to uproot families, bulldoze over communities, and make people relocate, because they are standing in the way of “progress.” Coal mining has been nothing but a curse upon the land.

Churches should take a stand, and condemn the actions of these criminal enterprises, for destroying God’s creation. But most are reluctant to do so because a lot of their congregations have ties to the industry. What an excuse. What a shame. What a sin!

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