Coal has always been in the forefront of my life. A UMWA pension is what kept food in my stomach and a roof over my head. The lure of the mines has attracted most of my family, a majority of the folks I went to school with, some of my greatest allies, and a group of pro coal protesters who serve as the little dutch boy with their finger in the damn.
I have seen coal wreck everything around me! Mountains that once blanketed me in a sense of security, peace and the only place I call home. Arch along with other coal companies have spent the last 125 years destroying that home; with a heart of metal, and a mind of money they sink their teeth deep into the heart of Appalachia. They care for nothing, except draining the last profitable drop of blood out of West Virginia; they will not stop until every lump of coal is ripped out of the ground.
They ask us to compromise, to believe that they hold the keys of progress and prosperity in their hands. Arch tells us to think to think of the economy, to think about all the jobs they bring to my community. I will say once and for all TO HELL WITH THEIR ECONOMY! I will not allow their economy to kill any more of my friends. I will not allow Arch another inch in this struggle; there will be a winner and loser in this fight for the future of Appalachia and it sure as hell won’t be the coal companies.
Today, tomorrow, and every day for the rest of my life I will disrupt business as usual. From St. Louis to the strip site, from the city to the hollers, wherever they are I will be there fighting for every inch, fighting for every permit, and I won’t stop until Arch is nothing more then a collective bad memory. So as they drag me out of their office, all their doing is empowering our struggle.
We are strong and we are everywhere. If there are extractive industries trying to exploit the land and the people, whether it be in the Tar sands in Canada, or Peabody trying to destroy the brave folks fighting for the ancestral way of life on Big Mountain we will be there to tell them either you are going to stop destroying our communities or you will be fighting me and all of my other allies until you put us in the ground!
For the land and the people,