Invoking Some 'Higher Authority'
in the Fight Against MTR
Some people of faith are bringing the heartbreaking issue of
mountaintop removal to a Higher Power.
In early October, they left West Virginia and headed to a
TECO mining company site situated directly above the town of McRoberts, Ky.,
where they were met by Kentuckians For The Commonwealth member Larry Easterling
and his 2-year-old son, Jacob.
Larry, a former surface miner, expressed grave concern over
the loss of water caused when blasting at MTR sites fractures the rock strata.
On this beautiful fall day, led by Father That-son, the
priest at Our Lady of the Hills Catholic Church of Elkview, WV, the group
ascended what remained of a mountain overlooking the town of McRoberts nestled
in the valley below.
Winnie Fox, born in Kentucky, opened the service by singing
"Wayfaring Stranger," a haunting melody of one who longs for home. On
this Feast Day of St. Francis of Assisi, Father That-son spoke of St. Franciss
deep love of God and Creation how the earth, like a mother, sustains all
life and is our home. Regina Hendrix read Psalm 95, which declares that the
mountaintops belong to God.
As the wind blew steadily, like the Spirit moving across the
land, other prayers and readings were offered to bless the land and the people
and to pray for peace.
The community of McRoberts, Ky., is situated directly below the TECO
mine. The road in the foreground leads to the MTR site.
Dust from the mining operation (center of photo) heads directly
towards the community of McRoberts.
Participants in prayer service for the mountains, people and community.
Front row from left, Mary Agnes Keener, Father That-son, Regina Hendrix
and Winnie Fox. Back row from left, Larry Easterling (KFTC member),
Jacob Easterling and Larry Gibson.
Why we do all the work. With the tortured mountains above McRoberts
in the background, Larry Easterling holds his 2-year-old son, Jacob.