WASHINGTON, DC — “Today, Thursday morning at 10:00 AM Eastern time, Diane Rehm’s National Public Radio show will concentrate on mountaintop removal coal mining. Rehm’s guests will include, Joe Lovett, Executive Director of Appalachian Center for the Economy and the Environment in Lewisburg, West Virginia; Judy Bonds, Co-Director of Coal River Mountain Watch; Siobhan Hughes, reporter for the Wall Street Journal covering energy and the environment; Tom Hamburger, an investigative reporter who covers the White House and executive branch for the Los Angeles Times; Mari Lynn Evans, producer of the film “Coal Country”, and Roger Horton, founder of Citizens for Coal,” Paul Ryder, Organizing Director, Ohio Citizen Action.
Mari-Lynn Evans, filmmaker, calling from Akron: We worked for four years on our documentary film, Coal Country. Joe Lovett and Judy Bonds are both in it. One of the things that really struck me during this four year process was how the intimidation just continued to increase during that time period.
Diane Rehm: What kind of intimidation?
Mari-Lynn Evans: We at first, of course, saw the initimidation that was happening to the residents like Judy [Bonds], who are forced to protect themselves and to have surveillance cameras around their houses because there’s been so many threats to them. The first premiere of our film — which is a balanced film, it shows both sides of the issue, the pros and cons of mountaintop removal — two days before the premiere, the theater cancelled it due to security concerns. When we were able to reschedule it two days later at the capitol, we had to have West Virginia state police there, some of them in riot gear, to protect all the the people — I think there were over a thousand people, a full house — just watching thge film. All through the film, it was like watching the Rocky Horror Picture Show. People were screaming and yelling, even with the presence of all the security there. There were pro-coal representatives that had to be removed from that location. Since then we have other screenings in the coal fields that were cancelled due to threats. I’ve received threats. My videographer has been arrested and has received threats. Unless you’re down there, you don’t . . We’re losing the mountains were losing the water, were losing the air of our beloved Appalachian mountains. We’re losing the people and those communities. People cannot live there. The people who do live there and are speaking out about it, as happened at that public hearing in West Virginia with the Army Corps of Engineers, people are literally removed by the police and are not allowed to speak publicly about this issue.
Diane Rehm: I want to give Roger Horton an opportunity to respond.
Roger Horton, Citizens for Coal: I would simply say that no one should threaten anyone. . .
Diane Rehm: Well, of course not, but she’s talking about what did happen, not what should happen. Can you comment on what did happen?
Roger Horton: No, ma’am. I was not there. .