Challenge to Obama: Mine disaster- Can good come of tragedy? Have you been listening?

How can you allow the operation of a mine when there have been 53 violations this last month alone, and 100 just this year. How can you allow operation when big money corporations take chances with peoples lives, both underground, and on top with MTR? I’ll tell you how. Lobbyists with big money. People that have no conscience, and  who’s life mission is about how much money is in their pockets, and how much power they have.  It’s time that the “little people” that this constitution was made for begin to be heard from again.

I’ve heard all the arguments about how “we need energy”. Why isn’t anyone asking questions about how we are getting that energy? Why are we blowing up mountains. Disregarding the safety of miners? Warring in the middle east? FIGURE IT OUT PEOPLE!

Shame (to start) on the Bush administration (most recently), and Obama for not making this top priority. Health Care? How about death and health issues that are blatantly disregarded?

When will this stop? When YOU take action. Write the White House. Lower  your energy usage.

It is time to rethink the energy policies of this country, and mandate lowering energy usage, just like in World War II. If people won’t lower their energy usage voluntarily, it should be mandated federally. Period. We are at a crossroads with global warming, environmental, economic, and basic human survival issues. I’ve been watching the “news” about this, and saw the Governer, and Senator of West Virginia’s statements. Where is Don Blankenship?

When are “WE THE PEOPLE” going to get off our asses and DO something? It’s time. I did something. I lowered my energy usage 40% this year. I was colder in the winter, and hotter in the spring already… but I’m alive, and my quality of life didn’t suffer much.

Rich Reardin
Coal Country

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23 Responses to Challenge to Obama: Mine disaster- Can good come of tragedy? Have you been listening?

  1. Mike Garrity says:

    I just saw reports this morning on both MSNBC and CNBC about Massie Energy’s safety record. It sure seems that the only thing that matters to the management of Massie is the bottom dollar, come hell or high water and they sure as hell don’t give a rat’s patootie about the safety of their workers or what effects their mining operations of all kinds have on the environment–it seems to be pretty obvious for them its all a matter of: “get that coal out of the ground and show me us the money–screw everyone and everything else!!!”

    Don Blankenship had better hope there is not God and there is nothing else once our lives are done—-if there is God, the devil, heaven and hell—–God has let Bezelbub prepare a very special place for Blankenship’s soul to spend eternity–hope it was worth making all that money in life to get that reward in the life hereafter!

  2. Walt says:


    If the mighty dollar as you say was Massey’s only concern. Wouldn’t it make good business sense for Massey to protect their investment? Massey has spent hundreds of millions of dollars on the UBB complex, so why in God’s name would they risk losing it all.

    You environmentalnuts are all the same, you don’t have a clue of what you are talking about.

  3. Citizen Harry says:

    Wow, Randy is back under a false name!

  4. Walt says:

    Sorry to pee in your cheerios there Harry, but I’m not Randy, however I have met Mr. Maggard in the past.

    BTW are you takeing my advice and studing hard so maybe just maybe ond day you’ll be as smart as Mr. Maggard? lol

  5. Citizen Harry says:

    Oh, well, wishful thinking that Randy would have something to say about Massey and mine safety. I realize his job would be on the line unless he praised it. I’m sorry that you have to resort to calling people dumb, Walt. I’m sure Randy is a very well educated man, and I know he tries to be a good father. I would never consider taking pot shots at his personal integrity, even though he’s continually done that to me. I just care about destroying pristine mountains, and polluting the environment for my energy. Actually, I would hope that someday the coal companies would get to work on the problem. It won’t be me that fixes it. They’re the ones with billions of dollars at their disposal. If they really gave a crap about anything other than lining their pockets, that is.

  6. Walt says:

    I never said you were dumb, I said that you were not as smart as Mr. Maggard. I made that comment because of the many derogatory remarks you made toward Mr.Maggard.

    When you say pristine mountains, I think of untouched mountains and valleys, sorry but I don’t know of any pristine mountains, they have either been developed, logged, or have been peppered with gas/oil wells and gas lines. I disagree with your comments on polluting the environment, but there’s no point in arguing with you because, I’m not going to change your mind and you are not going to change mine.

    I always get a kick when people talk about how much money companies make, and never realize how much money is spent. The profit margins are low, sure coal companies can make good money when thing go well, however they can also lose a ton of money very quickly.

    • Citizen Harry says:

      Excuse me, but Mr. Maggard has given his share of derogatory remarks towards me, way before I got a bit perturbed by his comments. I apologize, but I don’t think I’ve ever said anything derogatory in actuality. Please find me an example, and if I did, I will apologize beforehand.

      Excuse me, but yes, pristine may not be a good choice of words, but dynamiting the top of a mountain is a lot different than logging. And last I looked, I didn’t see many oil derricks in place of mountains throughout Appalachia. I agree that you most likely won’t change your mind, nor I. But to bring up “Knowledge” is pretty strange to me, as there are plenty of scientific documents that show how coal is tremendously harmful to the environment.

      Excuse me, but profit margins are low? How the money is spent? Have you SEEN West Virginia? It’s one of the poorest states in the nation with an abundance of natural resources. Don Blankenship is a multi-millionaire. Take a look at the history of coal in America, and you’s see how the coal companies have raped the land, forcefully acquired land from the people, busted unions, and have very little conscience even when it comes to mine safety. SEE: Massey Energy Upper Big Branch mine disaster for the most recent example.

      Yeah, they can lose a lot of money quickly when they get sued for being responsible for danger and death in mining, to the environment, and to America.

      One last thing. I’m sure there are good people that are in the mining industry. I’m sure Randy Maggard is one of them. I’m sure that’s why he was in the movie. “We” aren’t against the coal companies, but we, as citizens are free in this country to use our opinions, our speech, and our influence to make changes for the betterment of society. I’ve said this many times. We ask for dialogue towards positive change, and to put an immediate stop to MTR. That’s one thing that shouldn’t be open to debate. It’s a plague on nature, America, and when I go to meet my maker, I want to say I tried to do something about it.

      • Walt says:

        I’ll admit that I’ve not followed the Harry/Maggard debate. My comment was based on recent posts which were made mainly by you.

        If you haven’t seen many oil rigs or gas wells in Wv, then I suggest you take a closer look. Check out the USGS topo maps and you will see that Southern Wv. is peppered with them.

        Knowledge???? Not sure what you are referring to. I’ve seen some of these so called scientic documents you refer to and they are all about the same, the conlusion is what ever the author wants it to be. If the author is against surface mining then the book will be anti surface mining that’s just the way things are in todays world.

        I occasonally travel through WV. and I agree it is poor, but where would it be without the coal industry? What does Blankenship wealth have to do with anything, Bill Gates or Warren Buffett they are both billionaires but that doesn’t have anything to with this discussion either.

        Over the years I’ve talked to many people who have their property surfaced mined, and the majority of them have no problem with it. More or less they claim the land is now useful whereas before it wasn’t.

        People being forced to sell their land is one of the biggest lies environmentalist tell. Tell me how do companies force people to sell their land, do they come in the middle of the night lol.

        Coal companies didn’t take down the union, the union took itself down, they were their own worst enemy.

        No one knows what caused the explosion at UBB, but enviro ‘s the union and our government have already tried and convicted before the cause was idintified.

        You not being againist coal companies is hogwash you yourself said you wanted dialogue and put an immediate stop to MTR. How can you want to end something but not be againist it?

  7. Citizen Harry says:

    I don’t have time to say much tonight, but an oil derrick doesn’t wipe 200 feet off the top of a mountain with dynamite and million dollar coal machines. A MTR site bulldozes bear dens, does harm to the natural ecosystem , and pollutes rivers with waste. An oil derrick does not ruin a mountain forever, sort of. When we get finally off this toxic diet of fossil fuel driven energy, we can take down an oil derrick, but you can never put a mountain back.

    I never said I wasn’t against MTR, I think I said it needs to be stopped immediately. It only brings about 5% of all the coal mined in the U.S. it just makes companies the most money. I said that coal companies should be working on moving towards green energy, so they can survive along with the rest of us.

    I’d love to hear what miners have to say about the unions busting themselves. That’s the funniest thing you’ve said so far.

    Tried and convicted? I didn’t see anything about a trial, or a conviction yet. Miners are too scared for their jobs to say anything. But I do see public records of a whole crap-load of safety violations. Last I heard, a saftey violation is a “CONVICTION” of sorts.

    You must work for a coal company, or are a West Virginia politician.

    • Walt says:

      Harry…..I’ll give you credit where credit is do, at least you used a reasonable depth of 200 feet, most enviro’s still claim 800-1000 feet of mountaintops are being removed.

      Bear dens,…..did you say bear dens lol, and just how many have been destroyed 1 or maybe 2? Since your so concernend about the wildlife I assume that you want everyone to become vegetarians, that would also take care of hunters. I’m sure you also want everyone to stop driving cars since they kill millions of animals annually, let’s not forget about airplanes, how many times do flocks of birds fly into those huge enginees. I know we can all use windmills,… they also kill birds, and we have to install new power lines. Well I guess we will have to rely on solar power,…..but don’t these huge solar farms harm your little critters and guess what they also require new power lines. Now were down to hydro and nuclear, well if we use hydro then won’t we’ll need to build huge dams, and I know how you guy’s feel about the small one’s that coal companies want to build, can you imagine all of the natural ecosystems that would be destroyed by those huge dams. I guess that leaves us with nuclear power, but wait we don’t have an approved waste disposal site in the U.S. never mind the fact that we need uranuim which has to be mined, so I guess that nuclear power is a double whammie, you need to mine uranuim and no approved waste disposal. So what do you guy’s and gal’s suggest we us to replace coal as an energy souce?

      Excuse me, but on 5/5/10 didn’t you say “we are not agaiinst coal companies” and “that we want dialogue toward positive change and to put an end to MTR”. I think that sounds hyprocritical don’t you.

      Once again, I must give you credit where credit is do, at least you went public with your agenda. First let’s stop surface mining, then underground coal mining, then oil and gas. Now that we are freed of all fossil what do we do. Any Idea’s?

      I have several friends and family members that have worked in the UMWA, and their stories are very similar. During the 70’s and 80’s miners would strike for any reason, legit or not. I’ve heard of stories where they would strike if there was no soap in the bath house, or find some reason to strike during hunting season, they would strike if the mine up the road was on strike. There are to many stories of this nature to share here. Actions such as these helped destroy the union not Massey or Blankenship.

      You may want to watch the news……MSHA and Obama have already said that the coal company is at fault before the investigation started.

  8. mari-lynn evans says:

    I have sit down with many current and former Massey miners. They have told me stories of how they were instructed to take down line curtins, to leave coal dust, to do other illegal actiities in order to make money for the company. When I asked them why they would jeopardize their own lives they told me that when they complained, Massey told them to work or “get on down the mountain”. Sadly, 29 miners did not get on down that mountain on April 5
    Would you eat in a restaurant with 500 violations? Would you drive a car with 500 violations?
    You must be one of the 2% of Appalachians who work for coal. It is heartbreaking that anyone would defend a multinational company, based outside of WV who would have such a safety record. But it is the politics of coal. How else can you convince that slavery to a company is more important that miner’s lives.
    Coal miners and the environmentalists both want good, safe jobs. They have everything in common. Neither have anything in common with the goals of a coal company. They make millions, pay the workers a mere fraction of their worth, and then destroy our communities.
    Sen Robert C Byrd has said Massey cares more about money than safety. MSHA is conducting an investigation, and the FBI is now investigating criminal activity.
    You can put your head in the coal dust, or you can see the facts. I cannot make you do either. The souls of 29 miners killed on April 5 cry for justice. If you don’t want to hear them, know that most people on the face of this earth do hear their cries for justice. We hear them and we are acting.
    God bless our miners, God bless WV and God bless you.

    • Walt says:

      I have several friends and neighbors who either work or have worked for Massey, and overwhelming majority of them have postive comments concerning Massey’s mines. I have to wonder why would they take down line curtaiins after they’re already hung, wouldn’t that waste more time than to leave them hanging wouldn’t that cut into their production time. Wouldn’t that defeat the purpose of your comment?

      Mari you said you wanted to make a fair movie about the coal industry, now your say that 29 men lost their lives due to Massey’s ignoring safety rules and greed. Let me remind you that the investigation has not started and your already tried and convicted Massey. What do you say we let the investigation take it’s course and if Massey is guilty then they should be punished, but not before.

      Your comment about eating at a restaurant with 500 violation, well how do you know your not. Whenever you go into restaurant do you ask to see their violation history for the past three or four years? I doubt it.
      When you purchased your car did you check the violation history of the auto maker or previous owner? Again I doubt it.

      You and Harry have both insinuated that I work for a coal company, well if you must know I do not, however my company does some work for the coal industry as well as others. I realize that if coal were to disappear from our economy the majority of the smaller buisness would also disappear.

      What’s really heartbreaking is to see people such as youself, promote such bias trash as coal country, all you are doing is spreading misiniformation. I personally overheard you tell people in Charleston WV. that you wanted to make a true unbiased documentary then later learned that your project was funded by the Serria Club. IMO you lied to many people, I just hope your proud of yourself.

  9. WV hollergirl says:

    AS me and my family actually live here and don’t just travel through WV I can tell you that less than 5% of MTR sites have any development on them at all.
    People are forced to sell because their quality of life has been degraded and their lives put in danger by the surface mining nearby. Even their property value has been decreased by the near by mining. Maybe the land owners that likes the strip mining is the “absentee out of state land owners”.
    Dr. Hendryx published a study that proves that a woman that lives near surface mining loses 10 years off her life. Children are getting poisoned by the effects of strip mining. The resident’s health is suffering from surface mining- air quality and water quality.
    Before any one comments about us hillbillies smoking and unhealthy life styles- being the cause – Dr. Hendryx’s study took that into account during his study- it is peer reviewed.

    • Walt says:

      If you must know I was born in Eastern Kentucky, in a mining community and still live there today. So I am very familar with the going’s on in mining communities. I don’t necessarily believe the 5% you quote, but also realize where you get you info.

      “Quailty of life, lifes in dangered’ Again your reading straight from the enviro’s handbook. Property values in E Ky. increased significantly during the 80’s, 90’s and 00’s because of MTR, maybe you should check with the local PVA’s instead of reading out of the handbook.

      Nope all of the land owners I’ve talked to still live right here, some have built new homes others use it for farming or what ever they want to.

      This Dr. you speak of has proved this? How many studies over the years have proved things only to be refuted later, so what makes you think this is any different. How are children being poisoned?

      Here’s a question for you, enviro’s are backing the new florescent light bulbs, you know the ones that contain mercury, because they use less energy,…….by the way aren’t you guy’s compaining about mercury levels being to high. So are you more concerned about everyones health or saving a litttle energy?

      Once upon a time “peer reviewed” may have ment something but not today, these people just say I’ll review your book if you review mine. A good example would be all of the global warming freaks out there weren’t their books/studies peer reviewed. In case you missed it google climate gate it’s some good reading.

  10. bulltown1959 says:


    “Studying” is the word you are trying to spell.

  11. cleven says:

    The time for dialogue has passed. It passed when it became clear that there was never going to be dialogue on the part of the coal companies. They do not listen, they do not hear. It takes 2 to talk. But, it took UBB to bring the FBI and MSHA in to coal fields. Now, where will you all hide? Your tactics of intimidation, of greed over good may be over. Get a green job and do some constructive with your life.

    • Walt says:

      Your right it does take two to talk, now answer this question. How can anyone have a dialogue when one side will not accept anything less than shutting down the industry? You and I both know that is your intent nothing more nothing less.

      MSHA has always been in the coal fields. Where is the FBI?

      Coal’s intimidation, that’s laughable? Who’s been caught tresspassing? Who’s been caught breaking into business and hanging banners? Who’s barges into office buildings and chainging themselves to the doors? So who is trying to intimidate who? My suggestion for you is to look into the mirror.

      Where are the green jobs? or What are the green jobs? Gee whiz guy if they’re out there let everyone know, I don’t know if your awaret or not but umemployment is around 10%. Sorry that was my mistake I forgot you’re probably not aware of that sort of thing, guessing that you don’t work and more than likely never had.

      Why don’t you get a job any job, green or not I don’t care then you can pay your taxes like the other 50% that do.

  12. mari-lynn says:

    I loved Sen Byrd saying that mining is NOT A RIGHT. It is a privledge to be given to people who will mine responsibly. Just because you bought mineral rights generations ago for cents on the dollar, or maybe just gave someone a sewing machine along with false promises, that does not mean it is right to take that land now for MTR. Almost 80% of mineral rights in coal country is owned by coal or others. How can you expect that these companies would do anything other than mine it? Is that the best for the people? Is it best for the land? Is it best for WV? Those are the real questions. Slavery was permitted once. That did not make it right. I would be happy to discuss how land is “taken” in WV, since I have personal experiences with eminent domain. Why can people just not treat others and their land with respect? Why is money the only thing coal companies hold up as reason for the right to mine?

  13. Walt says:


    Who is taking who’s land?

    What if a person owns both surface and mineral or just surface rights and want their property mined, and left in an useful manner, isn’t that their right to have it mined. I thought you guys were fighting for the land owner. These people you speak of, weren’t they told that they were only buying the surface rights. If not who’s fault was that, you can’t blame the coal company for that.

    The majority of company owned mineral rights including gas, oil and coal were purchased from the individual owners prior to WWII.

    Emenent domain is a law where the government can appropriate private property. Coal companies can not use emenent domain to purchase private property.

  14. Citizen Harry says:

    Wow, Randy… I’m mean Walt, you wrote quite a novel here, since I last posted. I guess arguing with you is pointless. You’ve got an answer for everything, and believe that you are right in everything. That is the stamp of a closed minded individual.

    Definition: “lacking tolerance or flexibility or breadth of view; “a brilliant but narrow-minded judge”; “narrow opinions”.

    There is no discussion here, just preaching. Good job, Pastor Killjoy!

    You determine what I’m thinking, making judgments on me. Why? Because you can’t help it. Case closed. Closed mind. Educated in everything but how to debate.

    Thinking like yours will be the end of human evolution. Fortunately, there are other people who don’t live in the dark ages, and are dreamers of a world where we don’t accept poison for our breakfast, lunch and dinner.

    I admit my mistakes, and try to learn. I know the world isn’t perfect, at least until humans showed up. I admit that you have some points that merit discussion. However, it’s obvious that you would never open yourself up to new thinking, because you have your mind made up.

    I pity closed minded superior thinking people who accept horror as being inevitable.


  15. mari-lynn evans says:

    I do think I made a “balanced ” film and Randy Maggard contributed his opinions as did many others . I gave everyone a chance to tell their stories.

    RE UBB: Men did loose their lives, and Massey did ignore safety rules and people were shocked to learn of the many safety violations that were exposed. I did not say Massey was directly responsible, that is for FBI and MSHA investigators.

    I know for sure I don’t eat at a restaurant with 500 violations–Federal and State laws require them to be shut down. I worked at a restaurant and I know that health violations will result in closing. Why is it not that way for coal mines?

    I do not know who you work for, nor do I really care. When you call my film bias trash, then you have no credibility with me. THERE is no NARRATION. Have you seen the film? Are you saying the coal company or the environmentalists are lying? As for making Coal Country, I could not be prouder of this film. Thank you.

    Eminent domain is a law where the government can appropriate private property. In areas of Appalachia, the coal companies are leasing the land , acquired by eminent domain by the Corp of Engineers for mining. That is not what the law intends but it is a loop hole being used now.

  16. Walt says:

    Harry,………You think I have a closed mind lol, however you were the one that said we need to put an immediate stop to MTR. Don’t you think that statement qualify’s as closed minded?

    I would love to discuss this issue with you. I’m still waiting for you guy’s and gal’s to answer my questions. How do we replace coal? Someone said get a green job. Where are the green jobs in W.Va and KY.?

    I think of myself as a realist. What you guy’s are proposing to do is not realistic and cannot happen overnight without dire consequences.

    Mari…………..I’m sure you gave everyone a chance to contribute, but evidently most of it ended up on the cuting room floor.

    Again…..You are convicting Massey before the investigation ever started. What ever happened to innocent until proven guilty? Did you check and see what each and every violoation was?

    MSHA or State officals can and do shut down mines if conditions warrant.

    I’ve seen reports in the local newspapers of health inspection where restaurants did not recieve passing marks and had to be re-inspected at a later date, and they were not closed down. it would be interesting to back three or four years on these establishment and see how many violations the have had. What about the number of violation from harvestiing to when it arrived at the restaurant, really we have no idea what our food has been through.

    My, my, my a little thin skined aren’t we? I thought by you being a film maker you would be use to criticism, but I guess not. To answer your question yes I watched your movie, how else would I know it was bais trash, hey I call them as I see them.
    IMO you let the enviro’s streach the truth beyond the norm, but hey your an enviro yourself, so what more could one expect.

    I know out West the government leases land for mining many different minerals including coal, gas and oil. The Corp of Engineers will take land for lakes and highways, but not for solely mining coal. I’m not aware of any coal company in Appalachia leasing government land. Where is this land?

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