Since becomming aware of and outraged at the practice of mountaintop removal coal mining about twelve years ago, while doing research for my novel The Pie Man I have read books, articles and hundreds of website pages about this heartbreaking issue. The marvelous photography and the plaintive, intelligent essays of "Plundering Appalachia" tell the story magnificently -- it is a book every American should read.
The critical point that "Plundering Appalachia" so wonderfully makes is that mountaintop removal coal mining is much more than just an evironmental crime and ecological tragedy. The colonization of Appalachia and the creation of a sacrificial energy dead zone, is a social and political injustice that Americans everywhere should be outraged at. Nowhere but in Appalachia would we stand for the blasting away of mountain tops and filling the valleys, covering the streams,releasing toxic minerals, poisoning the groundwater and displacing local residents and making communities inhabitable. It wouldn't happen in California, or Vermont, or in the Catskills, or anywhere outside of Appalachia, where the coal industry has been sucking out the wealth for a hundred years, keeping the people poor and powerless.
"Plundering Appalachia" is a beautiful, insightful and important book that every American Congressman and Senator should read and then ask themselves "how was this ever permitted to happen?"