Robert Kennedy, Jr., In Charleston to Shoot Documentary
New Film to be based on his book, Crimes Against Nature
Story by Kristen Sell
CHARLESTON — Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. met with the president of the West Virginia Coal Association Monday while working on a documentary on mountaintop removal mining.
Kennedy spent the afternoon flying over mountaintop removal sites.
Monday evening, he and West Virginia Coal Association President Bill Rainey met at The Grill on the city’s West Side to discuss the issue.
“It really is one of the hugest acts of theft in history,” said Kennedy of the mining practice.
He engaged in a heated discussion with Rainey about Mountaintop removal, and both held their ground.
“Clearly he doesn’t agree with anything that I purport or stand for and I don’t agree with much he said either,” said Rainey.
Kennedy said the coal industry is destroying West Virginia.”They’ve cut down already 460 mountains in West Virginia, some of the largest mountains in the state. They’ve buried 1,200 miles of streams. Within five years, they’ll have flattened an area of Appalachia the size of Delaware,” Kennedy said.
Rainey said the issue is more complex than that and there is a human element to mining that environmental activists often fail to see. “It just needs to be put in a very human perspective as it involves our people that spend every day of their working life mining coal in a very professional manner,” said Rainey.
Those managing to catch a glimpse of the action were impressed.
“Just like all the other Kennedys. He spoke just like his father,” said Charleston resident Phyllis Rutledge who came to The Grill after hearing Kennedy would be there.
With pros and cons on the table, both hope the documentary will strengthen the state. “I’m trustful and hopeful that it’s going to be beneficial,” Rainey said.
“I would like to see West Virginia look at other ways to employ it’s people,” said Kennedy of his goal of the documentary.
*The above report comes to us from West Virginia Media.
Local TV news station WOWK-TV in Charleston caught up with Kennedy during his visit yesterday. You can see the video here.