RFK Jr. on Mountaintop Removal Mining

Robert F. Kennedy Jr. in West Virigina, July 18, 2007

RFK Jr.’s latest article about the environmentally destructive practice of mountaintop removal mining was posted to the official Google Blog recently.

In all the hubub of this political season, this important story may have been overlooked – so here it is again:


By Robert F. Kennedy, Jr.

[From time to time we invite guests to blog about initiatives of interest, and are very pleased to have Mr. Kennedy join us here. – Ed.]

In 1810, Thomas Jefferson wrote to a contemporary, “No one more sincerely wishes the spread of information among mankind than I do, and none has greater confidence in its effect towards supporting free and good government.” Almost 200 years later, Google provides us all with unprecedented access to the world’s information. In Appalachia, nonprofit organizations are using that information in innovative new ways to reveal the destruction caused by mountaintop removal coal mining, and to demand for the people of Appalachia the “free and good government” that Jefferson envisioned.

If the American people could see what I have seen from the air and ground during my many trips to the coalfields of Kentucky and West Virginia: leveled mountains, devastated communities, wrecked economies and ruined lives, there would be a revolution in this country. Thanks to Google Earth, you can now visit coal country without ever having to leave your home.

Every presidential candidate – and every American – ought to take a few seconds to visit an ingenious new website created by nonprofit organizations in Appalachia that lets you tour the obliterated landscapes of Appalachia. By entering your zip code into this amazing new website, you learn how you’re personally connected to mountaintop removal. Americans from Maine to California can see these mountains and the communities that were sacrificed to power their home. This puts a human face on the issue by highlighting the stories of families living in the shadows of these mines.

The site uses Google Maps and Google Earth as interfaces to a large database of power plants and mountaintop removal coal mines. A November 15, 2007 article in the Wall Street Journal highlighted the site as one of the most cutting-edge uses of these powerful tools. And today, the Google Earth Outreach program is launching a featured case study about this project, along with additional resources for nonprofit organizations, in order to help spread the word and make these tools even more accessible to the public.

Each day coal companies detonate 2500 tons of explosives – the power of a Hiroshima bomb every week – to blow away Appalachian mountaintops to reach the coal seams beneath. Colossal machines then plow the rock and debris into the adjacent river valleys and hollows, destroying forests and burying free-flowing mountain streams, flattening North America’s most ancient mountain range. According to the EPA, 1,200 miles of American rivers and streams have already been permanently interred, leaving behind giant pits and barren moonscapes, some as large as Manhattan Island. I recently flew over one 18 square-mile pit – Hobet 21 – which you can now tour in Google Earth.

We are literally cutting down the historic landscapes where Daniel Boone and Davy Crockett roamed and that are so much the source of American’s values, character and culture.

Mountaintop mining poisons water supplies, pollutes the air, destroys hundreds of miles of North America’s most ancient and biologically diverse hardwood forests and permanently impoverishes local communities. For too long, this devastation has been hidden in the remote poverty-stricken communities of Appalachia. This new website finally exposes this national disgrace for every American to witness. Wherever you live, you have a connection – and a responsibility.



Filed under climate change, election 2008, environment, global warming, media, politics, RFK Jr., robert kennedy jr., Uncategorized

4 responses to “RFK Jr. on Mountaintop Removal Mining

  1. chrisy58

    Thank you for posting this.

    He is right with all the technolgy to see the world from your computer with the google earth there is no excuse for people to still be in denial with the reality of what is going on.

    Yet, time after time on talk radio the radio hosts will deny global warming, climate change, and the destruction of our environment and make us out to be loony tunes who want to destroy the American way of life.

    I say it is not us who like Robert Kennedy Jr who are trying to protect our national treasure who are the loony tunes trying to destroy the American way of life but it is the rich greed of the powerful elite in this country like George Bush and friends.

    I may be stupid, but tell me if George and pals destroy our planet by their greed than what will we have left? What will the next generation inherit?

    If we have destroyed the earth by strip mining and the beauty of our national treasures such as mountains, oceans, rivers, lakes, deserts etc than havent we destroyed what is our national treasure?

    From where I sit, it is us who are trying to save the enviroment from such evil greed that are truly protecting the future of America and not the greed of the powerful and elite in this country who don’t really care about anything but how much more money they can make.

    It is the American tradition to love and cherish the natural beauty of this country, to protect it, and most important to pass it on to the next generation so that they can enjoy it as well. We are caregivers of the land entrusted to us. It is not ours to do as we please, but to tend it with loving care.

    More and more I know in my heart that Bobby is the right man to lead us into the future. We are at a crossroads and he is real change and not the fake change of either Obama or Clinton.

  2. I just dropped by to thank you for spreading the word about mountaintop removal coal mining. We really appreciate your references to http://www.iLoveMountains.org.

    Its posts like these, especially from well know advocates like Mr Kennedy, that have made a HUGE impact on the campaign!

    If you havent already, please consider joining the iLoveMountains.org Bloggers Challenge:

    Take care, and thanks again!

  3. Pingback: EPA Approves Bush's Decision: Mountaintop Miners Can Bury Streams | Greener.Ideal

  4. Pingback: Obama Administration Moves To Reverse Mountaintop Mining Rule | Greener.Ideal

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