"A mountain was in labour, sending forth dreadful groans, and there was in the region the highest expectation. After all, it brought forth a mouse." - Phaedrus (8 AD) Roman creator of fables, freedman of Augustus from a fable

"Going to the mountains is going home." - John Muir (1838-1914) American naturalist

"Climb the mountains and get their good tidings. Nature's peace will flow into you as sunshine flows into trees. The winds will blow their own freshness into you, and the storms their energy, while cares will drop off like autumn leaves." - John Muir (1838-1914)American naturalist

"The mountains are fountains of men as well as of rivers, of glaciers, and of fertile soil. The great poets, philosophers, prophets, able men whose thoughts and deeds have moved the world, have come down from the mountains." - John Muir (1838-1914) American naturalist

"Let children walk with Nature, let them see the beautiful blendings and communions of death and life, their joyous inseparable unity, as taught in woods and meadows, plains and mountains and streams of our blessed star, and they will learn that death is stingless indeed, and as beautiful as life." - John Muir (1838-1914) American naturalist

By Bob Weaver EARTH DAY 2005

As the sun rises today, I would ask you to consider that which God has given to us and the manner in which we are using it.

From the proposed mining, drilling and timbering of our beautiful Monongahela National Forest and our state parks to the mountain range demolition of our Appalachians and the destruction our once crystal clear streams.

The Appalachian Mountains are among the oldest mountains in the world.

West Virginia's mountains contain the most diverse temperate forest and freshwater aquatic ecosystems on the planet.

Since the creation of the universe, millions of years of wind, water, and ice have eroded the Appalachian mountains to about half of their original height.

Massey Energy, Arch Coal and National Coal and other energy corporations have decided that that was much too long.

They are trying to get the other half in only a few decades.

Few would fess up to greed being part of eliminating 80,000 mining jobs for quick and dirty extraction.

Few would fess up to corrupt government officials perpetuating the greatest ecological crime in history of West Virginia - the destruction of our life-giving and water producing mountains.

Few would fess up to the long and tragic history of corporate coal in this state, loss of life, loss of employment, destruction of homes, and elimination of communities throughout the coalfields.

Few would fess up that three million pounds of explosives have been detonated every day in the "mountain state," leveling 500 square miles to barren wasteland.

Few would fess up that valley fills have buried 1,500 miles of Appalachian streams forever.

Few would fess up that billions of gallons of chemical-laden sludge, restrained by leaky, failure-prone earthen dams, loom above our communities and schools.

Few would fess up that the Buffalo Creek disaster was the fault of an unstable Pittson Coal dam, leaving 118 dead, seven missing, 1,100 injured and 4,000 homeless. Pittson said it was an act of God.

Few would fess up that coal corporations have not be held accountable to pay billions in environmental fines.

"The great mountains of the world are a great remedy if men but did know it against our modern discontent and ambitions. In the hills is wisdom's fount. They are deep in time." - E. R. Eddison (1882-1945) English novelist, scholar of Icelandic literature

"Every now and again take a good look at something not made with hands—a mountain, a star, the turn of a stream. There will come to you wisdom and patience and solace and, above all, the assurance that you are not alone in the world." - Sidney Lovett

What of a truth that is bounded by these mountains and is falsehood to the world that lives beyond?" - Michel Montaigne (1533-1592) French essayist from Essays

"Today is your day! Your mountain is waiting. So . . . get on your way." - Doctor Seuss (1904-1991) American author, illustrator, known for his imaginative children's books

Do West Virginians really believe that coal companies are creating "Fields of Dreams" on those wastelands as promised in their TV ads. Hundreds, maybe thousands, of our state's original strip mines are abandoned, not reclaimed and hazardous.

They bankrupt and start over.

Millions upon millions of dollars are needed to pay for reclamation.

Coal company owners and their political friends say protecting the mountains, air and water is a "War on Coal," a movement that is supported by most West Virginians, polarizing miners, fearful of losing their jobs.

Still, environmentalists and conservationists are rising in united protest against the increasing cultural and environmental devastation of our mountains and streams.

Mountaintop removal is now called mountain range removal.

It is a war against the earth, the air, the water and our children yet to come.

Robert Kennedy, Jr. says it is a crime against nature, a crime against the people of West Virginia.

Surely there must be a place in our senses to bring justice to creation and the place in which we live.

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