A guest blog by Peter Britton
Coal Ain’t the Culprit, an ebook, is but a chapter in the long and lethal story of coal. The rock that burns has helped shape the world, power countries and now threatens to ruin it. Global warming is, in large part, due to burning coal which creates and releases carbon dioxide (CO2) into the atmosphere. And CO2 is our number one greenhouse gas.
But what a chapter this is. It covers the years of the country’s greatest perceived need for coal; the many visits of G.W. Bush to West Virginia; the renegade coal operators, the robber barons of old, cutting off mountains, putting legitimate coal miners out of work and putting production before safety; the bribes and machinations by the powers that be; the Marsh Fork Elementary School gambit; the rise of the grassroots environmentalist action of Larry Gibson and Judy Bonds and many others; and the travails of one resident living below an encroaching MTR operation.
Maria Gunnoe of Bob White lives down-hollow from a now-defunct mountain top removal (MTR) coal operation. One blackwater flood too many and one defiant refusal to help pay for the damage it had done to her bridge and Maria’s tipping point was reached. She joined OVEC, worked her tail off, won two major environmental prizes—and today keeps on working.
This ebook is her story and that of the 10-country coal region in the sharp hills of south, south western West Virginia. The book contains the libretto of the musical I was building for four years (the music for HollowGirl is available at CDbaby.com), when I took a forced break as funds grew short. Then the telling event took place, the explosion in the Upper Big Branch (UBB) mine.
The end is not yet in sight, as the use of coal continues to grow overseas. And the parties responsible for the UBB disaster still roam the coal seams.