Strip Mining on Steroids
To start off our campaign trip to Charlotte, NC, we traveled to a mining site to see firsthand the devastation of the “latest” coal mining technique, Mountain Top Removal (MTR). Energy companies are starting to get more and more desperate for coal and are increasingly exploring dangerous options… MTR, fracking, drilling in the Arctic, etc. Yeah, it sounds pretty bad when you read about it, but seeing it firsthand will change you.
Since our campaign trip was centered around Duke Energy coal plants (the largest purchaser of MTR coal), our coordinators decided to give us a glimpse at what we were actually fighting against. The site was a couple of hours out of our way to Charlotte, but extremely important to see. We arrived right around sunset and quietly snuck out of our van, hopped a gate, and walked up to the top of what used to be a mountain.
At the top, we were assaulted by two conflicting images. One, a beautiful sunset proclaiming the glory of God. And the other, a mountain irreversibly devastated by the hands of man. There was a strange tension in the quiet air. Peace and despair strugglingly to occupy one space. We aimlessly walked around the site for an hour or so, trying to comprehend the scale of the destruction. Near the entrance were hundred thousand dollar pieces of equipment and thousands of gallons of fuel sitting around. We also found an empty box of explosives. I couldn’t believe the carelessness of the mining company.
Although this issue wasn’t as personal to me as it was to some of my friends, I too felt rushes of anger and sadness wash over me. What used to be a majestic mountain was now a plateau of rocks… lifeless and ugly. On our way down the mountain, we stumbled across a polluted bright orange stream. This truly was a crime scene.