New Video on Appalachia and Wells Fargo

Written by Scott Parkin

Topics: Coal

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Appalachia is under attack by corrupt coal companies and greedy banks, like Wells Fargo, that fund them. The tactic is mountaintop removal. The result is a sort of bombing campaign wrecking havoc on Appalachian land, economy, people and culture.

Rainforest Action Network is helping spread the word about this “bombing campaign” and popular opposition in the region by producing this short shocking video about mountaintop removal.

The environmental impact is staggering as coal companies are literally exploding the tops off of mountains for seams of coal. This has resulted in 474 mountains being destroyed (so far), 7% of Appalachian forests cut down and over 1200 miles of rivers and streams have been buried with debris and waste.

Coal companies claim that mountaintop removal creates job and stimulates the local economy. But the real motive of mountaintop removal is to eliminate jobs in the mining sector. In 1940, West Virginia employed 130,000 miners 130,000 short tons of coal annually. By 1997, West Virginia employed less than 20,000 miners producing 180,000 short tons of coal annually. Mountaintop removal accounts for about 1.2% of jobs and brings in 2.6% to the local economy.

This tactic has also had a human impact. Families and communities have been driven from their homes and land with floods, landslides and blasting. Mountaintop removal has damaged or destroyed hundreds of homes and caused a 90% decrease in property values. Groundwater and wells are being poisoned by seeping mine waste causing a variety of health issues.

The cumulative impact of mountaintop removal is seeking to banish Appalachian culture to the dustbin of history in exchange for large profits to coal companies and the greedy banks that finance them.

Please send this video to your friends and let them know the truth about mountaintop removal and Wells Fargo!!

52 Comments For This Post I'd Love to Hear Yours!

  1. Our natural world is what makes life worth living.If we do not get our priorities straight there will be nothing left.

  2. william lawson says:

    Take heart..the future is now..soon the entire corproate machine will all come crashing down..dont get caught..prepare, stock up, head for the hills, spread out..dig in..survive to create a new world order of our own..billions will die..will you ?

  3. Rene Ruston says:

    This is outrageous. Coal companies and Wells Fargo need to be held accountable. They are poisoning us and future generations.

  4. sarah taft says:

    It would be a lot better if I could actually hear what they are saying in the video

  5. Bethany Brown says:

    This is outrageous and wrong!

  6. WENDY SEYBOLD says:

    Hello! Please tell me who to contact that would have the most impact on stopping this practice. We have interests on this from 2 different angles. We have 43 beautiful acres of West Virginia mountain land that we plan to retire to & create our own personal “wildlife sanctuary” and currently live within a 1/2 mile of the Brunners Island (COAL) Power Plant in PA. I have seen the scarring that topping produces when traveling to our land in WV. We bought land in WV to escape the filth and acid rain from the coal plant in our PA backyard. Please tell me what we can do to save the WV mountains! Sincerely,
    Wendy Seybold

  7. Danuta Glendenning says:

    I am glad I don’t live in the U.S. of A. You don’t understand, although you profess to be the clever Dick of the universe, that you are nothing but ancesters of the Easter Island extinct community, perpetrating their mistakes all over again, till you are also extinct, which mightn’t be a bad thing. Gives the rest of the world something to contemplate. Maybe they can learn from your mistakes, lest they also go down the gurgler. Cheers, Danuta from the only island with guts, called Aotearoa, the land of the long white cloud, a.k.a. New Zealand, where nature still comes topps.

  8. As a resident of Appalachia since childhood I have witnessed the devastation all mining has done to this region. From the lack of concern for workers, low pay jobs and families in poverty (while in Girl Scouts I volunteered to help a family living in four rooms with 22 children and no toilet), to the forever present mine subsidence consuming properties and roads, filthy water, black lung and yes; the infamous mountain top removal. i am a Independent voter for this reason; Senator Byrd of W VA has authorized this destructive practice for years. I vote primarily for the Environment, knowing if we can’t eat or breath nothing else is important. Living in W PA I was a Mechanical Engineer/Designer who turned education and 20 years of experience the Environmental Science field and found my passion. I also am a Fine Artist in my spare time and all work I show is directed toward environmental awareness…
    I don’t want one more generation to watch hundreds of migrating birds disappear, watch drinking streams turn to sewage, see neighbors homes destroyed by subsidence, watch the poor go sick without help and watch God’s creation descimated by greed.
    I’m on board for any writing, strategy or scientific studies needed to support your cause!

  9. S Lesh says:

    That is a lot of land being destroyed. Historical and genealogical places will be or already have been destroyed. Not to mention the environment. Corporate control is out of hand.

  10. yerda Berger says:

    its a shame that Wells fargo is helping destroy the beauty of the Appalachies mountain and lifes of so many people,how many people will become sick from this dirty deal that Wells Fargo has put up the dirty money,

  11. Christy says:

    I think that it’s wrong to blacken people’s water for money. There has to be a better way for people to gain economic stability there.

  12. Greg van Riel says:

    Stop the insanity NOW!!!

  13. Nancy Cushwa says:

    Disgusting!!!! This is one of the biggest rapes of the land that I have ever seen.
    STOP IT !!!!!!!

  14. Patricia Slovinsky says:

    What they’re doing to the land in name of profit disgusts me. Man’s ego is so large that they can’t see what they are doing to our future. Without these lands our planet will eventually die. It looks like sooner than later, uless something is done immediately. My heart cries for our land.

  15. Leo says:

    Coal is not an answer. Oil is not an answer, nor is
    Ethanol an answer to our energy needs.
    The Sun, Wind and Water are the answers, but there is no interest in these, because there are still dirty energy methods which have been and are very profiable for the greedy companies who supply this energy.
    As long as this country has Lobbyist and corrupt politicians, I fear there will be no real energy changes from the dirty fuels until every last drop of dirty oil and every piece of dirty coal had been brought out of this earth and sold for a profit.
    If you want this Earth cleaned up, then make it profitable for these energy companies to do so and it will be done.
    Corporations have no morals or conscience, they only exist to make a profit.

  16. Ann Hannibal says:

    This just in plain words SUCKS!! You know when we die we can’t take it with us. This is despicable and all about money. My heart goes out to those lovely people living there, rather who once lived there as so many had to leave! Ad Nauseam to Wells Fargo! Let’s all try to think of others, that includes W.F. You may give my message and e-mail to W.F. They have made me sick.I hope their conscience bothers them Thanksgiving.

  17. Robin L. Tremblay-Costello says:

    I think this is outrageous to say the least. This is a sure fast way to add to the destruction of our earth and help global warming along. I am disgusted and I did not watch any video,that would be too depressing for me. This needs to stop and now….

  18. peace, i was hired at a job that sprayed toxics on ground, that burned by arms for 2 weeks, when i cashed by paycheck it was from wells fargo. i had skin cancr about 5 years later & had to have about 50 hits of liquid nitrogen on my arms to stop the cancer, which my arms were bleeding in spots. & had to get a 2nd hit in two weeks when some healing happened of about 20 more hits.

    sorry to see such problems, that we thought ended. toxics water shouldn’t happen to anyone. that needs to stop. we need a serious study by all people to find ways to live that is of peace.

  19. Michelle Yde says:

    I’ve always thought this was wrong. I went to school in western Kentucky years ago and was witness to the strafing of the hills there. It was worse in West Virginia. I always wondered why people thought it was okay to “rape” the land like this. It seemed so stupid and thoughtless. I hope it comes to an end. I hope the people finally put an end to it. It’s about time!

  20. Jessie says:

    Mountaintop removal causes the same kind of damage as hydraulic gold mining did to the rivers of California. At least hydraulic mining was banned. The same should be done to mountaintop removal whether it be for mining or for subdivision development.

  21. lonna richmond says:

    just another horrendous situation – all in the name of energy. people must become aware of what their money is being spent on and put their money to work for positive, healthy things for people and the environment.

  22. Lori Colt says:

    I am closing my Wells Fargo account this week. Also, can you provide member contacts in Santa Fe, NM….we are very progressive here and can rally a champaign at our local branches if you can provide us with signage.

  23. Annette Gallagher says:

    I grew up primarily in West Virginia, home to some of the best coal in the country, and I will tell you that the reason this destruction continues unabated is because Appalachia is full of poor and illiterate people who don’t care or don’t know enough to care about the destruction of the environment and what that means in terms of lasting impact on the area. Witness last year’s Sago Mine disaster — coal companies don’t even give a damn about the lives of the people who make them money, never mind the health of the environment in which those people live. They don’t LIVE in West Virginia or Kentucky, and they truly just don’t CARE about the natural beauty they are destroying and the poison they are distributing. If these areas had more wealthy or influential residents, I can promise this would not happen the way it does. The CEO of Massey Coal, a jerk by most standards, is currently funding the Republican party in West Virginia to “create a more business-friendly climate;” in other words, screw West Virginia and the West Virginians. If he has his way, things will only get worse. By the way, the coal company is headquartered in Richmond, VA!!!

  24. J Stufflebeam says:

    I have said so many times before, Power, $$$$ and greed in todays world are all that matters to the wealthy. They will walk on anyone and everyone to get higher and higher up the feeding chain. It doesn’t matter who they poison or kill or how much of Mother Earth they render compeletely devastated so long as they get what they want before they move on to something bigger and better, that is more power, $$$ and greed for them.

  25. melinda says:

    if the people destroy the forests and the trees and the animals there could be undiscovered animals and plants when some could hold cures to deseases and if you get rid of the trees the global warming will encrease and most of our air will be lost.

  26. The continued “topping-off” destruction of the Appalachians is an abominable assault against nature, and a cruel rape of beautiful mountains for the money-grubbing greedy power companies. These horrible explosions leave long-lasting, brutal scars on the land. There has been no consideration about the resulting silting-up and destruction of mountain streams, or even concern for how this ravaging of the land affects the health and well-being of the people who live there. Because these folks don’t have huge amounts of money to file lawsuits that would force the Army Corps of Engineers to cease and desist,their way of life is being blown up and destroyed. This is NOT right; such vile desecration must be STOPPED!

  27. Ann C. Johnson says:

    The video is pathetic. We will learn too late that we need to get along with the natural world instead of trying to dominate it. America is an embarrasment the way we hog everything. Wind and solar power are the answer. and less consumption in every facet of out lives. The more poeple demand solar and wind power, the faster it will become more affordable and mainstream. We could have one beautiful planet if we took a few simple steps. Why are we so stubboern and stupid. It will bite us back one day.

  28. J Mondelli says:

    Destroyiing the enviroment for cheap filthy energy is not the answer, these beautiful mountain ranges can never be returned to there magnificant views. It is time to take our country back from the money hungry corporate thieves.

  29. Once we will regret this criminal act. Once we will use sun, wind and water as energy sources. Only a new ice age can repair such wounds.
    Leif Danielson, Alafors, Sweden

  30. S. Fortunak says:

    Hey, leave the land intact, as it is. Don’t be GREEDY.

  31. S. Fortunak says:

    Have some consideration for the environment.

  32. Jerri Forrester says:

    I said a special prayer for all those Wells Fargo corporate idiots that has something to do with this, and that they lose their jobs and this mess is shut down. God help those Mountain people.

  33. Bonnie Roberts says:

    The atrocities of the Bush Administration, based on greed, are numerous. They have left dead bodies floating in the Mississippi River and bodies of innocents in Iraq. These mountains are living beings, as well, and they, too, are being killed, along with the creatures that inhabit them. I find this monstrous, stupid, deplorable, sickening, and difficult to look at. The Appalachians are my home.

  34. ron riddle says:

    Please form a petition and I will sign it.

  35. deborah j volk says:

    I will be cancelling my credit card thru wells fargo, although I obtained it to cover dental work.

  36. This is what I tried to explain to the college students protesting outside of the nuclear power plants that I worked at. I wish I had this video to show them. We have the ability to produce power a lot better than this. We have sun, wind and water but they don’t produce enough power for the countries needs. Unfortunately Reagan made it so we cannot re-use our nuclear fuel in a pact with the now defunct soviet union. We need to repeal that act and re-use our nuclear fuel instead of burying it as well as get solar panels on every building in our great nation.
    Last summer I watched trains carry 120 car loads of coal pass by every hour. This isn’t happening only on Appalachian land, but across our nation. Coal and oil will be our ruin.

  37. Destroying people’s lives by eliminating jobs and ruining the landscape for a product that when burned releases carbon dioxide gas, the chief cause of global warming is a crime against humanity and nature. Since we can meet our energy needs with green technology and nuclear power, there is no need for us to tolerate this kind of rapacious capitalism any longer. We can put them away and for the sake of future generations that will inherit the earth, we must do so now.

  38. Patricia North says:

    I live in the North Country of Minnesota on the edge of the Boundary Waters Canoe Wilderness Area, one of the remaining truely pristine places on earth. Just outside of this breathtaking place is another story. Watching the video of the coal mining operations I’m reminded once again of the terrible impact these companies have upon the lands. Here it’s the iorn mining industry. Here, the same gaping holes, the polluted waters, and all the rest are examples of mining companies run rampant. For years, the mines were a way of livlihood for countless people and hardly a thought was given to the damage left behind by the open pit mines. For years I watched this with feelings of helplessness and hopelessness. Nobody dreamed of fighting the huge companies. Today, there are a few glimmerings of light, but much needs to be done. With enough voices we can make some big changes. It’s daunting, to say the least but at least we’re taking some strides in the right direction.

  39. D Dotson says:

    ” I will tell you that the reason this destruction continues unabated is because Appalachia is full of poor and illiterate people who don’t care or don’t know enough to care about the destruction of the environment and what that means in terms of lasting impact on the area.”

    Way off base. These people know what is being done to them—to their children, their heritage, their future, their land, their economy. They just don’t have the power and money to do anything about it which is why WE all have to get involved and help. I so love it when people blame the victims instead of the doers of the crime.

  40. Japhet says:

    Yeah I have to agree with Dotson. Some of the most adamant voices against mtn top removal are coming from the families and local people who are experiencing it first hand. If anything, its a matter of having access to the media, access to knowledge on how to get your voice heard and access to money to help organize. They’re actually doing it on their own, with very little help from outside. Pretty impressive to me….

  41. sparki says:

    hey folks– thanks for all the comments, if you want to take action against Wells, go here and give them a call–


  42. Lynne Horst says:

    Whenever you use energy, think about what it is doing to our environment. Remember, we are all consumers, only through limiting our energy needs through conservation, working to support alternative energy sources, and taking responsibility as individuals for our energy consumption can we end the destruction of our environment for energy sources.

  43. I wanted to add with deforestation, comes erosion, and erosion can cause landslides, add pollution to the water not to mention the trees that are involved filtering carbon dioxide. Also it takes years and years to grow back, esp. old growth. And what of all the animals who made these trees home-birds, squirrels, etc. I, Mary Ann Locke, a biologist, oppose this in its entirety.

  44. Barry D. Anderson D.M.D. says:

    I grew up in Eastern Ky., in the mountains. It is strictly a matter of economics. The easiest and cheapest way to reach coal is by mountain top removal. Not all is bad. This form of mining has in some few instances provided excellent habitat for elk, geese, deer, and many other forms of wildlife. Let me repeat in a very few small instances. Mostly it is utter destruction on the level of nuclear warfare. The answer to this problem is for Americans to wake up and demand renewable energy from our government. We must take a stand and force our senators and representatives to move our country toward renewable energy: wind, solar, hydroelectric, hydrogen fuel cell, and any new forms we can develope. In the mean time we will be putting out fires of destruction and winning battles but no end to the war. I used to have faith that our government was honest and looking out for our best interest. Now I am beginning to believe they are only concerned with how much they can benefit from special lobbies, big oil and coal corp., and have very little concern for the impact on us. There has to be a movement of the people to vote and elect environmentally concious members of government. I am afraid that our generation is too greedy so we must hope and pray that true care for our planet will come from our children. Teach them, guide them, and pray for them.

  45. Jacqueline Robinson says:

    Wells Fargo and other financing companies should be ashamed of the destruction they are supporting. We don’t have a second chance to do things right. Do the right thing and put your money into useful ventures like helping curb Global Warming. This and other things that would help your children and their children for generations to come. If we don’t take a stand now it will be too late! Please leave the beautiful mountains and the people alone, they don’t deserve this!

  46. Peggy says:

    My reaction to this video is pretty much as the woman in it says “these people are crazy”. We shouldn’t be surprised of course because big business has been steadily destroying our land in the name of money not in the name of providing more energy, just money. Alaska is a prime example and now we see they won’t stop at destroying an entire area topographically and culturally. This has to stop now.

  47. Maria says:

    Why are we working so hard to destroy what we have? Do the powers that be realize that once nature is deflied it takes decades if not centuries to replenish what was lost. Why do things like these keep happening? I think public opinion should always be taken into account on these matters. The people we elect don’t seem interested in what we think. When did the “Government for the people by the people” mission statement disappear?

  48. Mary Ramsay says:

    I have seen Mountain Top REmoval first hand in a fly-over through Southwings. IT is even worse close up.
    None of these companies realize that fresh clear mountain water would sell better than the coal that is polluting it. THe only thing that gets the wareness of big corporations is money, and until they become aware of another “use” for the land they will continue to destroy irreplaceable habitats and the land itself. That said, it is still up to us to get the word out.

  49. Vicky says:

    WHY is this being allowed to occur? It is destroying families, rivers, streams and forests!! WHAT CAN WE DO TO STOP THIS TRAGEDY?? Do you have no boundaries in this country? Why isn’t our government allowing for means other than oil/gas to run our vehicles? WHY does everything have to be destroyed in the name of GREED????

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