New Study Shows Elevated Poverty Rates Near Mine Sites

Sunday, July 24th, 2011
posted by rampsmedia

Heightened Poverty in Appalachia Where Mining Occurs
A WVU study was just released showing the elevated poverty rates in Appalachia near mine sites. This is one on top of many recent studies showing the immensely devastating impacts of mountaintop removal mining and strip mining.

Hyndryx who helped write the recent WVU study wrote “The study establishes the simple fact that MTM [mountaintop mining] areas have higher poverty. Residents of these areas are faced with the combined risks of differential exposures to potential environmental hazards in the context of socioeconomic vulnerability.”

Where coal mining occurs in southern Appalachia, people are being exposed to poor air and water quality which is directly causing higher cancer rates and birth defects. Not only that, they are being subjected to a ruined economic state where a dying industry is holding on to the monetary throne for dear life and actively preventing new and more sustainable industries from starting up. People are being put in a situation where they see little choice but to either take part in the destruction and keep food on the table or leave their homes in search of jobs (that is if they have the money to relocate to begin with).

Junior Walk of Whitesville, WV, who was arrested Wednesday for doing ground support for the ongoing tree sit on Coal River Mountain, said of the study, “I don’t need any studies or anything else to tell me strip mining creates poverty, just take a drive down the Coal River through Boone county and you can see plain as day the effect strip mining has had on our economy here. Take a look at Whitesville, a once bustling town that’s now just a row of boarded up storefronts and a thick layer of coal dust on everything. Whitesville is just one of many towns that have been destroyed by the coal industry.”

Becks Kolins who, along with Catherine Ann MacDougal, is at this moment sitting 80 feet up in a tree and actively stopping mining on a large portion of the Bee Tree permit on Coal River Mountain, said before raising themself into the trees, “The way the coal industry and politicians decide what is legal and illegal in this society is appalling. After I get down from the tree I am occupying, I will be arrested and sentenced to time in jail, for I am breaking the law. What about the CEOs of Alpha and other corporations who are strip mining innumerable mountains, poisoning communities, destroying priceless lands, and leaving a beautiful and culturally rich Appalachia poverty stricken? Those with the most power, those who are killing people, are able to get away with it, while I will be put in jail. I am tired of watching the powerful gain, while the working class lose.”

More poverty, more birth defects, destroyed ecosystems and environment. Why is there not more outrage?

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