Mountainfilm 2011 special guest Maria Gunnoe sent us the latest PSA from Mountaintop Removal Stops Here (MTRStopsHere.org), filmed while she was in Telluride.
Many neighborhoods and communities in West Virginia have been obliterated by mountaintop removal mining. The small West Virginia town of Twilight, in Boone County, is now in the crosshairs of mountaintop removal mining. Less than two miles from Twilight, the community of Lindytown was annihilated in 2010, to make room for more Massey mountaintop removal coal mining. OVEC and community members in Lindytown tried to save the community, and we’ve learned important lessons that will help us try to save Twilight from the same fate at the hands of area coal companies.
OVEC has purchased a small piece of property, with all mineral rights, on the edge of Twilight, a community of about fifty homes. The seller, Frankie Mooney, is featured on this video. Frankie died unexpectedly in January, 2011. He was an OVEC member who knew he couldn't save his land and community by himself. OVEC bought a small portion of Frankie’s nine acres, and a building, along with all mineral rights to the nearly twenty feet of coal underneath. Frankie's family continues to live on other portions of the property. The Mooney property is the key property that coal companies would need to get in order to most efficiently move their mountaintop removal operations from the now-gone Lindytown into Twilight.
Using community organizing, strategic litigation and media outreach, we will work together with community members to try to prevent Twilight from being obliterated. We want to make Twilight the example of a community that refused to be destroyed by mountaintop removal, giving people in other threatened communities the hope that they can do the same.