VBS: I think people need to know that the big guy on the block is a company called Massey Coal. Were you able to talk to anyone there?
Meredith: Oh, no. They try to hand you to their public relations department but they never answer the phone.
Maybe this is a stupid question, but how does Massey Coal buy a whole mountain? Can you do that?
It’s not that Massey will go and buy the mountain. They’ll lease the mountain for like nine years. That’s why they’re working 24 hours a day. It’s smash and grab resource looting.
So the lease allows them to actually get rid of the property? That’s totally fucked.
There is a big community of organizers down there trying to change things. But it’s not about making new laws, because there are laws on the books now. It’s about finding new ways to enforce these laws in a situation where this giant business has so much pull. The EPA and DEP and the legislative body are mute. Washington doesn’t care.
People should try and help the OVEC—The Ohio Valley Environmental Commission.
From what you’ve seen, do you think it’s going to keep happening? Are we going to keep losing mountain after mountain?
This debate has been going on for years, but until there are more restrictions—until it’s too prohibitive to mine coal this way, they’re going to extract as much as they can. Mountaintop removal is the cheapest and fastest way. Regulatory agencies are just looking the other way while corporations are acting like looters. They’re doing it in the middle of the night. They never quit.