(03/07/2003)
Photos courtesy of the Ohio Valley Environmental Coalition

A memorial that sparked debate about mountain top removal mining's place in West Virginia's coal history has been dedicated on the Capitol lawn in Charleston.

There were no protesters at this weeks unveiling, despite earlier objections from environmental groups and coalfield residents. The monument is near the Veteran's Memorial.

There was objection to one of the six plaques on the memorial's base that depicts a drag-line used for mountain top removal. They also disagreed with wording on the dedication plaque that refers to coal as a low-cost energy source saying it read like an ad for the coal industry.

Opponents said the monument was suppose to have been in memory of the state's miners who gave their sweat and sometimes lives in this last century.

Other plaques illustrate pick and shovel mining, a continuous miner and long wall mining. A sixth, which will list sponsors of the memorial, has not yet been installed. The Ohio Valley Environmental Council had asked the Capitol Building Commission to change the design, which the West Virginia Coal Association helped draft. But commission members refused, saying they did not have the authority.

Money for the monument came from the coal industry.


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