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Big Kenny Leads Big Rally in D.C. Against Mountaintop Removal

Rob Perks

Posted September 14, 2010

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 Over the past few years I've had the pleasure of traveling to the hollers and hills of Appalachia with country crooner Big Kenny Alphin (of the duo Big & Rich), showing him the devastation wrought by mountaintop removal coal mining.  Tomorrow Big Kenny comes to Capitol Hill, to headline a rally -- and to perform -- against the world's worst strip mining.

I hope you can join us at 1:30pm at Spirit of Justice Park, at the corner of C St. and New Jersey Ave. SW, just east of the Longworth House Office Building --one block from the Capitol South Metro Station.


(Big Kenny and me on Kayford Mountain, West Virginia)

Kenny, of course, is one of the most committed and outspoken of the many musical artists who have banded together with NRDC as part of our Music Saves Mountains campaign to end mountaintop mining.

"The beauty of the Appalachian Mountains has inspired countless songs in country, bluegrass, gospel and folk music," says Kenny.  "We must do everything possible to protect them."

The outdoor rally tomorrow is well-timed, as the coal industry has brought bus loads of its supporters to town this week to lobby Congress to stop cracking down on reckless mining.  Kenny -- alongside other peformers and real Appalachian citizens -- will speak in one voice to declare that Big Coal doesn’t speak for them. 

This counter rally against mountaintop removal is a prelude to an even larger demonstration that will take place later this month: Appalachia Rising.  Thousands of coalfield residents and supporters are expected to gather in Washington, D.C. for this historic event. 

Naturally, Big Kenny will be coming back for that event too, to show once again that music can save mountains!

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TeriSep 15 2010 12:23 PM

Who is that cool dude? Oh that's Rob Perks with Big Kenny!

danySep 16 2010 06:27 AM

This so called devsatation your talking about, creates jobs, feeds familys, and help the overall economy of applichia. It also takes land the in usless for anything and makes it a piece of property that can be used for housing, business, or factorys. All of the factories and places of employment here in my town that pay more than min. wage is built on reclaimed land, our hospital is also built on reclaimed land. I dont think people realize just how important surface mining is to this part of applichia.

Rob PerksSep 16 2010 10:16 AM

While it's true, Dany, that extreme strip mining like MTR employs some people, that doesn't make it right. Moreover, MTR is actually responsible for DECREASING jobs because it takes far fewer miners to blow up a mountain and scrape the coal out than to remove the coal via underground mining. So MTR destroys the land, water, communities...and jobs. To learn more about this -- as well as the myth of MTR reclamation -- just visit our website:

One CitizenSep 20 2010 07:12 AM

Mountain top removal robs us of jobs. In fact the surface mining was invented to take the miners out of the extraction industry.

So anyone promoting it is against jobs.

Studies consistently reveal that it not only is mountain top removal a net drag on the economy across Appalachia, it also poisons our water, destroys our forests, kills our citizens, and hurts our school system by under-financing our teachers.

Those who promote surface mining accomplish all this by buying politicians of both major parties as well as our judges.

If you don't believe it, West Virginia is the fourth most resource-rich state in the country, yet is always at or near the bottom of the barrel when it comes to per-capita income, health, and level of education. It wasn't always that way, though.

Before the giant drag line and blasting operations came to the mountains, we had well over 200,000 employed in the deep mining industry and the economy in southern WV was strong, diversified, and vibrant.

The surface mine industry continues to drive people out and kill off all hope for sustaining future industries. The best example I can give is the rise and fall of the economy in McDowell County WV.

The strip mine industry is in the process of turning every county across Appalachia into a virtual ghost town just so a handful of business suits can get filthy rich off "clean" coal. And in the meantime, it is denigrating the quality of water for a huge portion of the population in every state even near the Appalachian coal patch.

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