UMWA Member Speaks Out

Statement from OVEC member Chuck Nelson:

Chuck Nelson at the Hobet MTR mine in Boone and Lincoln Counties, WV. Photo by Vivian Stockman

Chuck Nelson at the Hobet MTR mine in Boone and Lincoln Counties, WV. Photo by Vivian Stockman

My name is Chuck Nelson. I’m a 58-year-old UMWA member. I’ve lived my entire life in coalfield communities. I’m disabled now, after working 30 years as an underground coal miner.

Coal mining has been the so-called economic cornerstone of West Virginia’s economy. In reality, it’s been nothing but a curse for the people and our communities. Since mining began 130 years ago, our communities have dwindled away, some have even disappeared. The folks that remain are faced with life-threatening illnesses.

Our water is now poisoned, where prior to mining, it was pristine. Our air is polluted and mined land is not fit to sustain healthy life, nor the forests we once had.

The coal industry says it brings us prosperity, but, tell me, where and when is this prosperity going to be arriving? We’ve been waiting 130 years.

Our use of coal is threatening not only coalfield communities, but communities across the globe. This is the biggest threat that civilization faces today, and I am pleased to see the Obama administration, along with the EPA, finally taking action to rein in this deadly fossil fuel.

Please be sure to read Dan Taylor’s blog, and hop on the bus to Pittsburgh.

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Vivian

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