I finally got my husband John to show me how to use his digital camera, and took some photos of the strip mining operation that is removing the top of the mountains above our neighborhood.
Some of those photos are now on a web page: Mountain Top Removal. They were all taken today, April 9, 2007.
Mining began a year and a half ago. The coal company got around to sending some one for a "pre-mining" survey, several months after the mining actually began. As the surveyor walked through my house with his video camera, in December of 2005, we could hear him say (for the cameras microphone) that the video was being taken in October 2005!! By summer time 2006 things were in full swing.
Trees may block our full view of the mining operation (which is why I went down the road just a bit to get a good photo). But we can hear the sound of the machinery, including those awful "back-up" beeps. By this winter 2006-2007, the sound of heavy machinery had become a constant accompaniment -- 24 hours a day, six days a week. At least, thank goodness they rest on Sundays.
Worst of all is the blasting. This mostly happens in the afternoon. Even though it happens almost every day, you never get used to it. You never expect it; the blast, which causes the entire house and all the windows to reverberate always comes as a shock and scares us.
Sometimes, after a blast, you can hear the sound of the rock falling. You wonder, what if it falls all the way down to the neighborhood. This has happened. Children have been killed in their beds by rocks dislodged from mountain top strip mines.
I don't care what coal companies or General Electric (with their dancing lump of coal) say, there cannot be "clean" coal without major changes in the way coal is extracted. Perhaps there cannot be "clean" coal at all.