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  Sierra Magazine
  November/December 2003
Table of Contents
Trains, Planes, and Pains
Interview: Bill McKibben
Life Study
The Comeback Canyon
Ways & Means
Let's Talk
One Small Step
Good Going
Lay of the Land
The Hidden Life
The Sierra Club Bulletin
Grassroots Update
Mixed Media
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Dethroning King Coal | Learn More


About mountaintop removal, coal, and Appalachia


Mountain top removal miningCenter for Virtual Appalachia A collection of online resources about Appalachia’s people, culture, landscape, and environment, maintained by Morehead State University in Kentucky.

"The Cost of Coal" Read a transcript of the August 2, 2002, installment of the PBS series NOW with Bill Moyers and peruse additional resources about mountaintop-removal mining.

"Mining the Mountains" Investigative reporter Ken Ward Jr.’s award-winning series of articles for the Charleston Gazette about coal-industry abuses in West Virginia. Plus follow-up stories and opinion pieces.

Tending the Commons A rich collection of sound recordings and photographs from a Library of Congress project documenting traditional uses of the mountains in West Virginia’s Big Coal River Valley.


The Appalachians: America's First and Last Frontier, edited by Holly George-Warren, Robert Santelli, and Mari-Lynn Evans (Random House, Spring 2004) The companion book to the PBS documentary of the same name.

Coal: A Human History, by Barbara Freese (Perseus Publishing, 2003) From the smoky streets of 14th-century London to the beleaguered mountain communities of today’s West Virginia, coal has played a pivotal role in human history. Author Barbara Freese explains how a simple black rock launched the industrial revolution -- and why we should start building a world that no longer needs coal.

Storming Heaven, by Denise Giardina (W.W. Norton, 1987) West Virginia writer Denise Giardina’s second novel is based on the all-but-forgotten Battle of Blair Mountain, a bloody 1921 conflict in which President Harding sent federal troops to face armed coal miners fighting to unionize the mines.

To Save the Land and People: A History of Opposition to Surface Coal Mining in Appalachia, by Chad Montrie (University of North Carolina Press, 2003) A history of the grassroots movement to reign in strip mining.

Voices From the Mountains: The People of Appalachia -- Their Faces, Their Words, Their Songs, collected and recorded by Guy and Candie Carawan (University of Georgia Press, 1996) Photographs, songs, and interviews tell the story of the Appalachian people and their struggle against mining abuses.


Matewan (dir. John Sayles, 1987) This acclaimed film about coal mining and union busting in West Virginia dramatizes the events leading up to the real-life "Matewan Massacre" of 1920, which sparked a decade of conflict between miners and their employers.

Razing Appalachia (dir. Sasha Waters, 2003) Nationally broadcast on PBS, this one-hour documentary takes viewers to Blair, West Virginia, where a proposed strip-mine expansion pitted a few dozen families against the second-largest coal company in America.

The Appalachians (Executive Producer Mari-Lynn Evans) Appalachia includes parts of 13 states, and is home to more than 23 million people, but its history and culture have often been poorly understood. This three-hour documentary incorporates interviews, music, folk stories, and historical letters and journal entries to illuminate life in this mountainous region. Interviews with Loretta Lynn, Johnny Cash, Rosanne Cash, Marty Stuart and others and sponsored in part by the Sierra Club, "The Appalachians" airs on PBS in late spring 2005.


Appalachian Focus
Route 2, Box 68AA
Middlesboro, KY 40965
phone: (606) 248-8624

Appalachian Voices
703 West King St.
Suite 105
Boone, NC 28607
phone: (828) 262-1500
fax: (828) 262-1540

Citizens Coal Council
P.O. Box 261
Valley Head, WV 26294
phone: (304) 339-2523

Coal River Mountain Watch
P.O. Box 651
Whitesville, WV 25209
phone: (304) 854-2182

Kentuckians for the Commonwealth
P.O. Box 1450
London, KY 40743
phone: (606) 878-2161
fax: (606) 878-5714

Ohio Valley Environmental Coalition
P.O. Box 6753
Huntington, WV 25773-6753
phone: (304) 522-0246
fax: (304) 525-6984

West Virginia Highlands Conservancy
P.O. Box 306
Charleston, WV 25321

West Virginia Rivers Coalition
801 North Randolph Ave.
Elkins, WV 26241
phone: (304) 637-7201
fax: (304) 637-4084

Photo courtesy Dave Muhly.

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