The Rape of Appalachia

Earlier this month, Ashley Judd gave a luncheon speech at the National Press Club.

Judd is an actress.

A recent graduate of Harvard’s Kennedy School.

And an activist.

Judd wants to defeat the coal industry’s practice of blowing the tops off of mountains.

Judd spoke passionately about her love for Appalachia – she grew up in eastern Kentucky.

And her disgust with the coal industry’s practice of mountaintop removal.

Blasting off the tops of mountains to get at a seam of coal.

Judd called it the “rape of Appalachia.”

She called it “environmental genocide.”

“The Appalachian Mountains are the oldest in North America,” Judd told the reporters at the National Press Club on June 9, 2010. “They are indeed so old geologists rather poetically, I think, call them deep time. They may well be the oldest mountains in the entire world. I am here to tell you, mountaintop removal coal mining simply would not happen in any other mountain range in the United States. It is utterly inconceivable that the Smokies would be blasted, the Rockies razed, the Sierra Nevadas flattened, that bombs the equivalent to Hiroshima would be detonated every single week
for three decades.”

“The fact that the Appalachians are the Appalachians makes this environmental genocide possible and permissible.”

But then Judd said something that proved she has spent very little time inside the beltway.

“By the end of our time together here today, I hope you will commit your journalistic integrity to stop mountaintop removal immediately,” Judd said.

Wait a second.

Did you say “journalistic integrity”?

Ashley, get a grip.

There is no journalist integrity here inside the beltway.

And just to prove the point, the National Press Club just sent you a message.

Haven’t heard yet?

Not only are we not going to join your campaign to fight mountaintop removal.

We’re going to invite your worst nightmare to speak here less than two months after you spoke here.

Guess who’s coming to lunch at the National Press Club on July 22, Ashley?

You got it.

Massey Energy CEO Don Blankenship.

You want to protect the mountains Ashley?


We’ll bring in the guy who’s blowing them up.

CEO of the number one mountaintop removal corporation in America.

CEO of the company under federal criminal investigation for the deaths of 29 coal miners on April 5 at a Massey mine in Raleigh County.

There are a group of activist reporters who are campaigning against Massey.

They’ve set up a web site – prosecutemassey.org – that is calling on citizens to sign a petition to the Raleigh County prosecutor to bring a manslaughter prosecution against Massey and the responsible executives for the deaths of those 29 coal miners.

But as for the mainstream reporters who govern the National Press Club, you were barking up the wrong tree there, Ashley.

Instead of campaigning against mountaintop removal, they do the opposite.

They’ll host Don Blankenship.

Just to stick it to ya.

So that Blankenship can continue to spin his web of deceit.

To try to get out from under any criminal prosecution.

To counter your speech from earlier this month.

To undermine your campaign against mountaintop removal.

So that he can continue his reckless operation of his underground coal mines.

To undermine federal law enforcement.

And to continue his dominance of the political and cultural landscape in which he operates.

This ain’t Kentucky, Ashley.

And it ain’t Harvard.

This here is inside the beltway.

Did you say integrity?

RUSSELL MOKHIBER is editor of Corporate Crime Reporter.




More articles by:

Russell Mokhiber is the editor of the Corporate Crime Reporter..

Weekend Edition
March 16, 2018
Friday - Sunday
Michael Uhl
The Tip of the Iceberg: My Lai Fifty Years On
Bruce E. Levine
School Shootings: Who to Listen to Instead of Mainstream Shrinks
Mel Goodman
Caveat Emptor: MSNBC and CNN Use CIA Apologists for False Commentary
Paul Street
The Obama Presidency Gets Some Early High Historiography
Kathy Deacon
Me, My Parents and Red Scares Long Gone
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: Rexless Abandon
Andrew Levine
Good Enemies Are Hard To Find: Therefore Worry
Jim Kavanagh
What to Expect From a Trump / Kim Summit
Ron Jacobs
Trump and His Tariffs
Joshua Frank
Drenched in Crude: It’s an Oil Free For All, But That’s Not a New Thing
Gary Leupp
What If There Was No Collusion?
Matthew Stevenson
Why Vietnam Still Matters: Bernard Fall Dies on the Street Without Joy
Robert Fantina
Bad to Worse: Tillerson, Pompeo and Haspel
Brian Cloughley
Be Prepared, Iran, Because They Want to Destroy You
Richard Moser
What is Organizing?
Scott McLarty
Working Americans Need Independent Politics
Rohullah Naderi
American Gun Violence From an Afghan Perspective
Sharmini Peries - Michael Hudson
Why Trump’s Tariff Travesty Will Not Re-Industrialize the US
Ted Rall
Democrats Should Run on Impeachment
Robert Fisk
Will We Ever See Al Jazeera’s Investigation Into the Israel Lobby?
Kristine Mattis
Superunknown: Scientific Integrity Within the Academic and Media Industrial Complexes
John W. Whitehead
Say No to “Hardening” the Schools with Zero Tolerance Policies and Gun-Toting Cops
Edward Hunt
UN: US Attack On Syrian Civilians Violated International Law
Barbara Nimri Aziz
Iraq Outside History
Wilfred Burchett
Vietnam Will Win: The Long Hard Road
Victor Grossman
Germany: New Faces, Old Policies
Medea Benjamin - Nicolas J. S. Davies
The Iraq Death Toll 15 Years After the US Invasion
Binoy Kampmark
Amazon’s Initiative: Digital Assistants, Home Surveillance and Data
Chuck Collins
Business Leaders Agree: Inequality Hurts The Bottom Line
Jill Richardson
What We Talk About When We Talk About “Free Trade”
Eric Lerner – Jay Arena
A Spark to a Wider Fire: Movement Against Immigrant Detention in New Jersey
Negin Owliaei
Teachers Deserve a Raise: Here’s How to Fund It
Kollibri terre Sonnenblume
What to Do at the End of the World? Interview with Climate Crisis Activist, Kevin Hester
Kevin Proescholdt
Secretary of Interior Ryan Zinke Attacks America’s Wilderness
Franklin Lamb
Syrian War Crimes Tribunals Around the Corner
Beth Porter
Clean Energy is Calling. Will Your Phone Company Answer?
George Ochenski
Zinke on the Hot Seat Again and Again
Lance Olsen
Somebody’s Going to Extremes
Robert Koehler
Breaking the Ice
Pepe Escobar
The Myth of a Neo-Imperial China
Graham Peebles
Time for Political Change and Unity in Ethiopia
Terry Simons
10 American Myths “Refutiated”*
Thomas Knapp
Some Questions from the Edge of Immortality
Louis Proyect
The 2018 Socially Relevant Film Festival
David Yearsley
Keaton’s “The General” and the Pernicious Myths of the Heroic South