Lost Mountain� author Erik Reese By Mitch E. Perry

02/08/06

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The Mountains of Appalachia is where most of America’s Coal resides…Now with the advent of strip mining, or “Mountain top removal�, author Erik Reece writes in his new book that strip mining is not just a local concern, but a mainstream crises that involves everything from corporate hubris and government neglect to species extinction and poisoned groundwater to class conflict and landscape destruction.

Reese’s new book is called “Lost Mountain�, about a year he spent in Eastern Kentucky observing the systemic observation of 1 mountain, called “Lost Mountain�….

WMNF spoke to Erik Reese about his book, and about Mountain Top Removal (roll tape#1 o.q.�the people of Appalachia are going to suffer�)

[start of tape] "The economists have this term externality, and externality is what doesn't get figured into the price of coal. And I argue that externality is all these things I've mentioned -- the price the people are paying, the price the land is paying there and I think that really does need to be figured into the price of coal because I don't think coal is cheap energy at all. I think it's very expensive when you look at the price the people and the land are paying."

carbon tax question

"Well it may be getting a little more realistic after the State of the Union address. At least the President has acknowledged we have to sever this dependence on fossile fuel. He didn't explicitly mention global warming, of course. The reality of it is we can't keep pumping this carbon into the atmosphere. We're going to have more and more Katrinas. So I don't know if a carbon tax is in the offing but I think the nation, given what has happened in the West Virginia mine and the last couple of weeks, I think the nation is sort of gearing up -- I hope it is -- for a real serious conversation about conservation and alternative energies."

"...we're speaking with Eric Reese...get angry in different parts of this book"....

"I hope so. I think that, as the civil rights movement showed, that never would have happened until white people and people in urban areas realized and saw what was going on in Alabama and went down there and tried to help. So I'm hoping the same thing will happen with this issue that people will get angry and begin pushing their electric companies to produce more green energies and will hopefully result in some real good legislation that will stop mountaintop removal."

..."the fight between conservationists and the coal industry, you write that...at some point people have to choose sides....

"We'll, there's an interesting development. There's a group in West Virginia that just got started and they're evangelical Christians and they call themselves Christians for the Mountains and that's really interesting to me because environmentalists are a group that are pretty traditionally easy to marginalize, but maintstream Christians aren't easy to marginalize and I think if we can build bridges with those people, you know -- to use your word -- we really can sort of transcend these left-right dichotomies and say this isn't about politics. This is about the air we breathe, the water we drink, the land we live on."

That’s author Erik Reese…his new book is called “Lost Mountain�……We’ll air the 2nd part of our interview with him tomorrow …where he talks about what people might be able to do to stop Mountain Top Removal.

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