Ohio Valley Environmental Coalition
  Winds of Change Newsletter, March 2011     See sidebar for table of contents

Anita Miller stares out at ongoing work at the Hobet 21 MTR site in Berry Branch, WV, not far from her familys home.   photo by John McQuaid for Yale Environment 360

Hobet Mine Follows You Wherever You Live

Anita Miller grew up in Lincoln County, in what used to be the community of Mud. Her parents and the whole community were forced to abandon their homes by the Hobet mountaintop removal operation.

That ever-expanding operation is now moving closer to Anita's current home in Alkol. Anita recently posted on her Facebook page:

"Does your house shake every morning? If it does call (DEP) and complain, 1-800-654-5227, ask for Pam Nixon. My windows rattle every day. Your house can only stand so much shaking, then the walls will start to crack. They told me that its normal for the door to burst open from the pressure. I sure don't want that. Do You?"

Friends of Anita have responded: "Even down this far we have felt it shake, but mostly we just hear the noise from the blast."

And: "They are just over our mountain. I can see them at night. We shake a lot. Trust me, sometimes I think we are gonna cave in, and oh my God, our water is awful."

An official with DEP told Anita that Hobet was more than two miles away, the blasts are in compliance. Plus, residents living closer were not complaining. Hmmm. Is there anyone closer left?

Perhaps the official hasn't been to the area to notice that people who were just recently living up Berry Branch are now all gone. Anita has kin buried in the cemetery at the head of Berry Branch hollow. The once-public road is now marked "No Trespassing" and going to visit your ancestors graves involves paperwork and waiting for the coal company.

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