Category Archives: Kentucky

Dramatic Photo of Black Mountain’s Strip Mine on NPR Story

NPR has a dramatic photo of the mine in relation to the house where a child was killed from a boulder from a Black Mountain strip mine. You can listen to it to the report on the site. I was particularly interested in this comment:

The couple said they had never driven up on the mountain behind their home to look down on the vast stripping operation, with the ridges carved away to get to the coal – and they didn’t realize how close the bulldozers had come.

$26.5MM Suit After Black Mountain Boulder Kills Toddler

The Washington Post reports Dennis and Cindy Davidson have filed a $26.5MM suit against the mining operators after a boulder fell from Black Mountain and killed their toddler Jeremy in their home in Appalachia, Virginia. The article there is increasing resistance to strip mining which had been the live blood of the region. Now more than one in four of Appalachia’s residents lives below the poverty line. The accident occured at 2:30 a.m. on Aug. 19, 2004, when an employee from A&G Coal Company was widening a road at Strip Number 13 pushed soil over a berm prompting the microwave size rock to fall 649 feet down the mountain. The Virginia Department of Mines, Minerals and Energy fined A&G $15,000 (the maximum $5,000 penalty for three violations — negligence for doing the work at night above occupied dwellings and using an inexperienced bulldozer operator working without adequate lighting. The Department that the maximum fines be increased to $70,000 for each incident. The Davidsons would like this to be called “Jeremy’s Law.” Coal produces more than half the electricity generated in the United States. More coal-fired power plants have been announced in the last 12 months than in the previous 12 years, according to the National Mining Association.
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Update January 11, 2005
Mark S. in the forum notes that Penn-Virginia, owners of the Black Mountain highpoint, owns the mineral rights for the mine in question is part of the suit.

Group Seeks Black Mountain Trail as Huge ATV Park Opens

The New York Times devoted nearly a page its Automobile section in its Dec. 17, 2004, issue for photos, maps, and reports that a group of ATV riders is pushing for a trail from Evarts to the Black Mountain summit.

Preston McLain, president of the Harlan County Ridgerunners is quoted as saying, “You’ll be able to ride from Evarts to the highest point in the state. That’s the goal. And the ride is free. That’s the way the county wants it. Say it’s to promote tourism.”
The article notes that Harlan County has become a destination for ATV riders. Harlan County is in the process of establishing a huge ATV Park. The off-road park won’t officially open until June, timed to the annual Poke Salad Festival, but local groups are already working to prepare the land. The Ridge Runners share the property with the Kentucky Mountain Crawlers, a local rock-crawling club, and both groups spend weekends clearing brush, christening trails and excavating the ancient mining and logging roads that hug the narrow ridges. In the spring the county leased a 7,000-acre parcel of land from a mining company and it plans to turn it into an off-road park. By next year the county hopes to secure another 30,000 acres, giving it the potential for a 280-mile trail