From The Coalfields To You With Love

Speak Out

I am looking for people that would like to speak out about the issues of Coal Mining in the Appalachian region for a documentary. I am really looking for people in the Southwestern Virginia, Southeastern Kentucky, and West Virginia area. If you are not in these areas but would like to participate, please send me your info. I will see what we can do.

I am also looking for music to use.

  • This would be a nonprofit documentary
  • All proceeds would be donated to
  • Release waivers will need to be signed
  • I understand if you would prefer to speak while keeping your identity hidden
  • The goal will be to sell the documentary online, probably through Amazon
  • I would love to have a soundtrack as well, if any musicians are interested in participating

If you have any questions or you would like to participate please email Cindy. Put Speak Out in the subject line so that it is not missed.

Photo Public Domain


7 responses

  1. don hubbard

    yes i would like to speak out on coal mining and all the hard working miners sur.and deep mine .this is what i will say to you hipercrit tree hugger enviromentalist and epa.the friends of coal and coal people in all coal producing states are fed up with your bull&%$ bi%$#ing and griping against coal.coal is a vital energy resource in america.remember that when you go to your compfortable home that you probable got from others sweat and aching back.whenyou turn on the lighs,get cold food from refrigater,adjust heat or air,run a soothing bath some energy source made this possible in most cases coal,it appears that most of bi%$#ing is from persons that are not making money on/from coal,and from non coal producing states always sticking their nose where it dont belong getting local tree huggers some attention these people have no honer and sell out their mothers in a new york minute.these people always want every thing to go their way and something for nothing there is always a price to pay .coal is our only affordable energy resource at this time in history!!! neuclear power is not an option one accident with it you are looking at thousands of years of radiation over a large area possibly big as several states made a vast wasteland for thousands of years,these neuclear plants make great targets for alcida,they arent done with us yet!!!!!

    Note: Bad language was (*&^ out by admin. Other than that it was posted as it was submitted.

    November 27, 2010 at 09:24

  2. David Marcum

    I am a Coal MIner of 20 years. I have worked overseas and have seen alot. You have to understand that Mining is a way of life and jobs for Applachia. We now utilise the Strip Mines land for building large commercial and housing complexs. We dont have alot of flat land in the mountains. The Coal Companies are doing a better job at reclaiming. The biggest reason that the Enviromental groups have is they always pick out disgruntal UMWA people when filming documentries. When the local people and news orginsations review and investigate it they just move on due to this. People in the mountains know that there are some people who just bash coal because they were lazy and didnt work and their Union Mines closed due to this so they join Enviro Groups to winge and the local people know and just look the other way. Also China has 10000 Longwall and 5000 Surface mines. Even if we stopped producing Coal today the enviroment would not change in the way that we needed. People are kidding themselves if they think that Poland, China, Australia and South Africa will stop mining. Their entire economys rely on mininng. Their revenue from mining resources account for about 60% of all revenue collected. They cant and will not stop. The transition to Solar and Wind will be the alternative but it is still 100yrs off. The Chinese make the cheapest and best Solar Panels in the world but they arent using them and how will Solar work in the Norther States and Canada?

    There is alot of work to do before we get rid of coal.

    Regards Dave Marcum
    Morgantown WVa.

    December 2, 2010 at 19:30

  3. Hello, Mr. Marcum,

    Thank you so much for stopping by and speaking out. I do agree with you on many levels, and I truly want to thank you for the years that you have put in as a coal miner. I do realize that it is people like you that have provided my family and loved ones with the comforts that we have.

    I also realize that much of land that has been mined has provided many places to build businesses and housing. My first thought goes to Airport Road in Wise, Virginia.

    When it comes to mining and oil in other countries, you hit the nail on the head. It doesn’t just go on here. Many other countries are following in our footsteps. As other countries continue to progress the need for fossil fuels will continue to grow larger and larger every year. That being said, it doesn’t mean that the US shouldn’t again be the leader, but this time with something new and innovative, something that will change the future and our dependencies on fossil fuels.

    I cannot think that this is it. I refuse to believe it. Again, this isn’t about ugly or no mountains. I worry about the quality of water in many places and the flooding that is occurring. I get town water where I live now. I’m lucky. What about those near AMD that have wells and no access to clean water? When I think about the Marsh Fork elementary school I get extremely upset. Obviously, mining isn’t the only issue when it comes to toxic water. Industry is a huge issue in many places as well as the pesticides that the US uses. The pesticides -especially Atrazine- are horrible.

    Maybe this whole attempt at bringing light to this issue is for selfish reasons, you know… so that I don’t feel guilty later on. I go and fill up my car with gas and I am funding terrorism. We all do it. I truly believe that our dependency on fossil fuels will be our demise.

    So, we don’t want to change our lifestyles. I get it. We are home of the free. If we are unwilling to leave smaller footprints, we better come up with alternatives. Again, I am not saying I want the miners left behind. I want jobs for everyone, just better jobs. Jobs that take into account the quality of life of future generations.

    There is no simple answer. You are correct in the fact that coal will not go anywhere really soon. That doesn’t mean that better practices shouldn’t be put into place until the time comes when there are environmentally safe alternatives. It doesn’t mean that people shouldn’t be educated and do what they can to conserve energy and oil. It doesn’t mean that big companies shouldn’t get involved and invest in a better way, different alternatives.

    Kindest regards,

    December 3, 2010 at 09:39

  4. Being a “Friend of Coal” isn’t something to be proud about these days.

    I was a fourth generation coal miner. My great grandfather worked in a pony mines for company script. He was crushed in a rib roll and spent time in a hospital suffering immensely. When he healed up, he went back to the mines. After 20 years in the mines he retired and spent the rest of his life on oxygen, eventually smothering to death. He also spent many days on the picket lines facing machine guns to make mines safer and get paid in real money.

    My grandfather worked in pony mines for a short time while the mechanization of coal mining was taking hold. He spent many years at the tailpiece busting up rock with a sledgehammer before feeders. Otherwise he did every job there was to be had. He also stood on picket lines for better safety and a guaranteed retirement with retirement healthcare.

    My father worked every job in the mines except for bossing and repairing. Now his back is busted up and he goes in and out of depression. He stood on a picket line to fight for all of the things his grandfather and father faught for when the companies tried to take backwater to make higher profits on them.

    I started working in the mines years later. I thought being a coal miner would give me that feeling of pride and heritage my forefathers felt. I figured coal was in my blood and it was. What I found out though was that many of the reasons they enjoyed coal mining were gone along with many of the principals and morals that made coal miners great people. No one is willing to stand beside their fellow miner and forfeit their wages to fight for something better for everyone. Instead that kind of man is considered greedy and lazy and now everyone has a “Look out for #1” attitude and hopes to be judged by how hard they work.

    A coal miner can be fired for any reason or no reason at all and the coal companies hold these “at will” work laws to the men’s throats like a razor blade, forcing them to play the game or risk losing their job and all they have gone in debt for.

    I didn’t play the game. I wouldn’t cut throats to stay ahead, I didn’t suck up to the bosses in hopes I wouldn’t get laid off if they idled a few sections. I knew that even if I busted my ass, cut someone down, and sucked up to the bosses, when it came right down to it the bosses’ son or other kin would stay and I’d be gone. I would have given up everything I stood for, everything I was raised to believe…for nothing. No amount of money was worth selling myself to the coal company.

    I realized just how bad all coal miners have it these days. They are damned if they do and damned if they don’t, between a rock and a hard place, etc.

    The company more or less owns you and rules your life. Don’t think so? Next time they tell you to work mandatory overtime tell them no. Next time they ask you to stay back…don’t. See how many times you can do it before you lose your livelihood.

    Companies not only control the live if their men by rigorous production increasing schedules, they also control how they think.

    I know I’m beating a dead horse but take a look at Friends of Coal….

    Friends of Coal is an organization developed and funded by the West Virginia Coal Association which is a group of mining companies such as Arch, Alpha Natural Resources, Alliance, ICG, Patriot, etc etc. They are putting all sorts of money into buying stickers and getting coal miners to worry about environmentalists supposedly shutting down mines, the government putting and end to the coal industry. They even tell people in their mission statement “By working together, we can provide good jobs and benefits for future generations, which will keep our children and grandchildren close to home.” IE, by helping the coal companies we can ensure our children will have jobs in the coal mines and live here to. But hey, it’s okay, because Coal Keeps the Lights On! The companies are using our pride and heritage to get us to fight their fights. What happened to the days of the men fighting the company for an eight hour work day, better safety, a guaranteed pension, and a retirement healthcare package to take care of their worn out bodies when they can’t work in the mines anymore?

    And as far as the environmentalists go…

    I have yet to meet one that hates coal miners and wants a coal miner to lose their job. Instead, they are worried about us and our children. They don’t want to see the water being polluted, and yes, it is being polluted. It’s not about saving “A” tree, or “A” squirrel, it’s about protecting the water we drink, and the air we breathe. People are getting cancer around here more than other places, why do you think that is?
    A lot of these “hippies” came here when people who’s water was being poisoned and their kids were getting sick couldn’t rely upon their neighbors for help anymore because their neighbors had a job in the mines and debts to pay off. Instead those good people who were getting sick and being pushed around by the coal companies had to go out of here and start talking at colleges to get help.
    That help came in the form of people forcing coal companies to abide by the Clean Water Act, something they weren’t doing correctly and was ruled upon by a federal judge in Southern West Virginia as being illegal. Environmentalists didn’t create a new law, they just made coal companies live by the ones already in place. Of course, that cut into company profits and the first place a company will look to balance it out is their workforce. Even Senator Byrd, a life long pro-coal Senator began to see how badly the coal companies were treating the people in Appalachia.
    So next time you put a Friends of Coal sticker on your truck, or the next time you refer to an environmentalist as a tree hugger, stop and think about why your saying it, and which of the two has YOUR best interests in mind…. the coal company who seeks to make a lot of money, or someone who chose to move to Appalachia try to survive in our economy with the hopes of keeping the water clean for our children and grandchildren and leave them just a few mountains to enjoy. I bet you’d also be surprised to find out these “Hippies” are also trying to find ways of getting us better jobs outside of the coal mines….

    In the end, there is nothing wrong with feeling a massive amount of pride when doing a difficult job to provide for your family, but when you when you start fighting for an industry that just wants more coal and higher profits, then that pride and heritage turns into selling your soul for more money.

    December 7, 2010 at 10:10

    • AMEN, Daniel! Amen!

      December 8, 2010 at 09:06

    • John

      I want to tell many of you that clean coal is possible. Coal gasafication will form a clean form of energy. As far a water pollution please read up on chemical pollution by your city water company. fluorine was put in water in Nazi Germany to help control the population. So please check what is in your water and then see what those chemicals do to your mind.

      There are many things that cause cancer. Your cell phone in your pocket is one of them. The vaccines with mercury in the since 1990 are causing massive disabilities in our children. The pollution from coal can be regulated and controlled. The new light bulbs filled with poison that emits dangerous microwaves is just fine. I think we should watch out who is trying to change our lives. I think we should find ways to fix the problems not fight with each other. If I was a miner I would stop now and shut down all the power plants. Then when everyone is sitting in the dark with the idiot box off we might find a way to fix things.

      June 21, 2011 at 17:00

  5. Jasper

    Sounds like some coal bosses follow the blog Daniel.

    If the UMWA is bust, its only because it wasn’t militant enough to force an end to surface mining when it started, not because its workers didn’t work or some crazy nonsense like that.

    MTR is an assault on working people and nothing more, you got rich people opening up mines that destroy people’s water, homes, and health and who pays for that. Mostly retired coal miners and poor folks living up the hollows that are being destroyed.

    Managers and bosses will always try to act like they’re workers, but any working person knows that those in charge are payed to tell us what to do, not to actually do the work. So don’t buy this coal boss stuff, they just want to keep production booming so they can keep profiting off the work of others

    December 7, 2010 at 11:13

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