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The Morality of Coal

“Our people are dying from the poisonous waters and air. Cancer death rates soar in my homeland, making it one of the highest of any area in the nation. I thought I lived in the “land of the free,” but the only thing free in central Appalachia is the free hand that the coal corporations are given by our state and national representatives to bomb and kill our land and its people. It’s murder, damn it! And any state or national elected representative who supports this Mountain Bombing for coal should be charged as an accessory to Murder!” — Mickey McCoy, former mayor of Inez, Kentucky.

Recent scientific research has shown a dramatic increase in birth defects among children born in areas in which there is mountaintop removal for coal. Millions of pounds of ammonium nitrate explosives are detonated daily in these communities, leaving toxic residue in the wind, the soil and the water.

It’s easy to blame these problems on the coal companies and on the politicians who do their bidding. Certainly some of the blame falls there, but we also need to look in the mirror. Minnesota has no fossil fuel resources yet 57% of the energy we use comes from coal. We are #22 in fossil fuel use in the country.

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