Tuesday, 10 June 2008

Government Agencies

U.S. Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works. (2008). Statement of Senator Enzi on the Lieberman-Warner Bill. Washington, D.C.

The Committee on Environment and Public Works features articles, blogs, and news on environmental justice progress in the United States. The Statement of Senator Enzi on the Lieberman-Warner bill is an interesting argument posed for Congress against the bill which has set restrictions on industries' pollution emissions. Senator Enzi discusses coal mining in Wyoming, and how the process differs from Appalachia's coal mining. Senator Enzi argues that coal mining in the west is not as destructive as it is in the east because of the different land types, and that its should be banned in the east, but allowed in the west after important evaluations are made. This statement from Senator Lieberman under the Committee on Environment and Public Works would be useful to a researcher because it provides a comparison between coal mining in two different areas and a perspective that differs from most. A researcher could develop possible solutions with this information as to how environmental health can exist in a coal mining world. More importantly, a researcher can discover further into where certain important officials stand on the issue of mountain top removal strip coal mining. 

U.S. Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources. (2008). Overview: About the Committee. Washington D.C.

The U.S. Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources has considered, reported, and overseen some of the most important environmental legislation ever enacted by Congress. The legislation they oversee can be described in the following major areas: energy resources and development including regulation, conservation, petroleum reserves and appliance standards, nuclear energy, etc. The committee has worked with mountaintop removal issues in regulating the amount of coal mined from the area, and the processes used. The committee strives to balance the relationship between coal extraction and the surrounding natural resources affected by the mining. This agency would be a useful source for a researcher because it's a very neutral, very official committee that strives to maintain balance for both parties involved in the mountaintop removal issue. A researcher can gain a very balanced and very realistic idea of what the coal industry is striving for and what environmental organizations are striving for when given an agency that strives to protect both.

Government Documents

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. (2000). West Virginia Regulatory Program. (Vol. 65 No. 161).

This government document, produced by the EPA is an amendment to the West Virginia Regulatory Program under the Surface Mining Control and Reclamation Act of 1977. The amendment includes changes to West Virginia's regulations for mountaintop removal practices, making mountaintop removal practices more consequential for the coal industry. Some of the stipulations include restoring destroyed land and receiving proper documentation from landowners for permission to mine. This document would be very useful to researchers because it's pretty much the "meat and potatoes" of how environmental activist groups are fighting the coal industry. The document is legal proof of where the coal industry, environmental groups and the government stand. Reviewing this document not only provides the researcher with the laws in place for coal miners to follow, but how they have broken those rules in their practices.

U.S. Natural Resources Conservation Service. (2005). Land Reclamation Toxic Discharge Control. (No.) Code 455.

This government document, produced by the Natural Resources Conservation Service, pertains to the control of acid or otherwise toxic, aqueous discharge from abandoned coal mines or waste produced from coal strip mining practices. The purpose of the stipulation is to improve water quality and other destructive consequences of coal strip mining and mountaintop removal methods. The document outlines how these regulations will be implemented and what they will entail for the coal industry. This document would be useful to a researcher because it allows the researcher to see more affects of mountaintop removal, specifically with water quality, and can see where government agencies, like the Natural Resources Conservation Service have entered the battle against mountaintop removal. Documents like these not only give the researcher a sense of the legal processes behind environmental battles, but more of a knowledge and familiarity with the government agencies that initiate the laws and codes.

Statistical Sources

West Virginia Highlands Conservancy. Mountaintop Removal Strip Mining Statistics. Retrieved June 10, 2008, from http://www.wvhighlands.org

This website provides updated, in-depth statistical research on mountaintop removal practices in West Virginia. Some of the statistics provides are: Between 1992 and 2002, 380,000 acres of mountain tops were destroyed; the 800+ square miles of mountains estimated to be already destroyed equals a one-quarter mile wide swath of destruction from New York to San Francisco; and Over 1,000 miles of West Virginia streams have been buried by mountaintop removal valley fills which is longer than the Ohio River. These statistics cover the wide range of destruction that mountaintop removal has produced on West Virginia turf. These statistics, and the many more listed on the web page, would be useful to a researcher because they truly put into perspective the damage that mountaintop removal has had on the land. A researcher could use these statistics for factual, credible evidence of the practice's impact on the planet.

Appalachian Voices. Mountaintop Removal Coal Mining in Central Appalachia: An Overview for the Congress of the United States. Retrieved June 10, 2008, from http://www.appvoices.org/images/uploads/AppVoicesMTRBooklet_web.pdf

This booklet put together by the Appalachian Voices organization is presentational information for Congress and provides detailed statistical information to show the impact of mountaintop removal. Some of the statistics include: In West Virginia, mountaintop removal has brought fewer jobs to the area, amounting to only 1.2% of employment; mountaintop removal mining in West Virginia produces less than 60 mst/yr of the nation's total annual production of 1100 mst.; and West Virginia's streams now contain between .35 and 2.3 p/m antimony in them. The statistics provided are very specific and revealing of how the practice has lowered environmental and economic standards in the West Virginia region. These statistics would be useful to a researcher because they also allow the researcher to see in factual and numerical terms just how much the mountaintop removal practice ha affected the area in all aspects. The researcher would be able to to prove and measure destruction with these variables in however he or she used the information.

Monday, 9 June 2008

Online Reference Sources

(2007). BNET: Environmental Encyclopedia, from http://bnet.com/

This online reference site features reporting on environmental issues. One article entitled, "Mountaintop Removal" relays one reporters in-depth investigation of the legal processes that the coal industry is supposed to go through before practicing strip coal mining in the mountains, but how frequently it forgoes the necessary processes before mining. The article describes some of the stipulations to coal mining, including rebuilding land that has been destroyed and reclaiming the land to its approximate original contour. This article would be useful to a researcher because it provides background to the legal processes that must take place before mining, and how the government attempts to regulate the process. However, because the coal industry frequently disregards the necessary procedures, a researcher can infer that mountaintop removal is taking place under untruthful terms, or at least research further into coal industry and government negotiations. 

(2008). Britannica. West Virginia, from http://britannica.com/eb/article-78622/West-Virginia

This encyclopedia entry provides background on West Virginia and their history in coal mining. The entry describes West Virginia's employment record, how coal mining processes have evolved, and other industries in the region that have an effect on the coal industry. This entry would be useful to a researcher because it gives more of a background on West Virginia's economy as a whole and how that plays a role in the coal industry and mountaintop removal practices. Knowing how West Virginia's industries as a whole come together and function can help the researcher see where coal mining fits into the economy and weigh the consequences of allowing mountaintop removal and not allowing it. 

Reference Sources

(2007). The Encyclopedia of Environment and Society 1st ed.,Vol. 1. pgs. 58-59, 289-291.

Appalachian Mountains and Coal: This section of the encyclopedia provides information on the history of coal extraction from the Appalachian mountains. It goes into great detail about what type of coal is found in the Appalachians: bitumious, and how Appalachia is the leading producer of this type of coal. The article features the Appalachian Regional Commission, which is devoted to improving land and mountain conditions in the region. The article presents the history of coal use in America and today's many environmental consequences from it. This encyclopedia would be useful for a researcher because it is specific to environmental issues and allows the researcher to access a wide range of environmental problems that may be connected to mountaintop removal. A researcher could link the use of coal to all of its problems, which can then link all environmental issues together and to a common source.

(2004). The Greenwood Encyclopedia of American Regional Cultures: The South 1st ed., Vol. 1. pgs. 96-97.

Ecology and Environment-Appalachian Gold: This section of the encyclopedia provides information on the history of coal extraction from the Appalachian mountains  and how the technique of mountain strip mining came into existence. The article also explains how mountain strip mining allowed a deeper access to coal, and how bituminous coal is unique to the Appalachian region. The article describes the Appalachian mountains to be the most biologically diverse land region in the world, and how most of those unique habitats are destroyed through mountaintop removal. This article would be useful to a researcher because it gives a very good history on the Appalachian area and the techniques that they have developed over the years. A researcher would want to be familiar with the evolution of the area and how the techniques have progressed to become familiar with how the techniques of mountaintop removal function today.

Scholarly Journals

Anft, Michael. (2007). Environmental Groups Battle Over Coal's Future. Chronicle of Philanthropy, 20 (2), 25-25.

Michael Anft provides a detailed report on the disparate views of the coal industry in the United States, focusing on the West Virginia mountains where activists are working hard to prevent coal mining by mountaintop removal methods. The article explores different activist groups' views on what should be done to solve some of the mountaintop removal processes, including some groups who completely oppose the the use of coal, some groups that don't recommend the complete stoppage of coal use but encourage exploring other alternatives to using coal, and all groups that collectively agree that mountaintop removal needs to be stopped. This article would be useful to a researcher because it provides a wide range of opinions on the mountaintop removal issue, and even includes the extreme views of both sides. A researcher would benefit from exploring the different opinions on what can be done to stop mountaintop removal and what the effects of each method would produce.

Motavalli, Jim. (2007). Once There Was a Mountain. The Environmental Magazine, 20 (2), 34-39

Motavalli discusses the effect of coal mining and mountaintop removal on the landscape, environment and people of the Kayford Mountains of West Virginia. It states that the mountains have been replaced by bare, flat, and terraced plateaus. The article also mentions the fact that coal strip mining in the Appalachian mountains has destroyed a whole culture and way of life. It informs that elevation is not included in many coal industrys' plans and that students in local elementary schools are being affected by the dust. The article also discusses various lawsuits and legislations for and against coal mining in the region. This article would be useful to a researcher because it gives specific examples of coal strip mining's destruction to the environment and people and provides true cases where the practice has devastated lives. A researcher would benefit in knowing where the practice has made it's mark in real lives to further research the people of the area, and to possibly contact the residents in the Appalachian area.

Sloan, Bob. (2007). Moving Mountains. Earth Island Journal, 22 (3), 44-47.

Bob Sloan presents information of mountaintop removal and its growth into all the northeast states. The article also discusses how mountaintop removal operations conducted in Kentucky have destroyed several important ecological and historic sites and how the constant blasting from mining sites have shifted the water table leading to the dry up of wells. This article would be useful to a researcher because it also addresses specific problems that have arose from mountaintop removal, which allows the researcher to see the problem through a microscope- how it affects a multiple aspects. A researcher could also look further into how far the consequences of mountaintop removal actually go.

Sunday, 8 June 2008

Newspaper Article Sources

Mountaintop Rescue. (2007, March 29). The New York Times, from http://www.nytimes.com/editorials

This article is a brief update on how environmental advocacy groups have found reason to present to congress in the coal industry's forge into the Appalachian mountains. The article features two regional groups: Earthjustice and Appalachian Center for the Economy and Environment, and the evidence they uncovered revealing that the coal industry had failed to demonstrate that mountaintop removal's damage could be undone, and that the industry had failed to conduct necessary environmental reviews. This article is a useful source for a researcher as a quick reference to who is involved in the mountaintop removal issue, how government has been responding to it, and whether activist groups are making progress. A researcher would discover specifically how the Bush Administration has responded to the issue and could further research the Bush Administration's involvement with it.

Coal Industry Digs In For the Long Run. (2008, March 13). The Charleston, from http://www.wvgazette.com/news/edwardpeeks

This article is from a very neutral perspective, and discusses more of the coal industry's involvement in the whole issue. It relays where the coal industry stands as far as its extraction processes, like mountaintop removal, and where it sees itself going in the future despite environmental agencies' battle. The article also features West Virginia and the fact that they have the highest number of underground mines in the country. This article would be useful for a researcher because it allows the researcher to see the mountaintop removal issue from the coal industry's perspective and why the practice is still going on even after countless protests from environmental groups. The article gives a researcher more of a description of a coal miner's job and how much of Appalachia is made up of coal mine workers. A researcher would value knowing both sides to the argument in order to see the issue as a legitimate battle.

La Torre, Nicholas. Appalachian Expert Decries Popular Misunderstanding of Region. (2007, October 8). The Athens News, from http://athensnews.com/new/campusnews/2007

This article features a speaker who lectured at Ohio University about the Appalachian land and its unique culture. Jeff Biggers wrote a book entitled, "The United States of Appalachia: How Southern Mountaineers Brought Independence, Culture and Enlightenment to America." Jeff lectured on how Appalachia is the most diverse place in America and that its unique culture comes from the evolution of mountaineer settlements in the region. This article reviews some of the topics and issues Jeff brought up in his lecture. One of those issues is mountaintop removal, and Jeff looks at it from an identity crisis standpoint. The article points to Jeff's belief that strip coal mining in the Appalachians is equivalent to "raping the land and culture" and erasing the history of Appalachia. His main concern is for the continuation of Appalachian culture for future generations to enjoy. This article would be useful to a researcher because it brings a new perspective to the reasons why mountaintop removal is harmful. Not only is it harmful to the environment and people, but it erases history and culture of what has always been a unique area. A researcher would benefit from knowing all of the factors involved in the problems that mountaintop removal brings. 

Book Sources

Reece, Erik. (2006). Lost Mountain: A Year in the Vanishing Wilderness. New York: Penguin Group.

(See Expert Sources for bio on Erik Reece.)

Lost Mountain is a book that documents a year in the life and death of an Appalachian mountain called the Lost Mountain. The book has been a leading document in mountaintop removal, and is the first publication where the process of mountaintop removal has been detailed. The book also includes interviews and testimonies from Appalachian residents to how the practice has changed their lives. The book would be a useful source for a researcher because it was written by a man who has personally seen the devastation of mountaintop removal and has been trained in the environmental studies field. The book would provide a researcher with solid, accurate documentation of a mountain's fall and the coal mining process, as well as personal testimony by those who have seen the process day in and day out.

Goodell, Jeff. (2006). Big Coal. New York: Houghton Mifflin Company.

(See Expert Source for bio on Jeff Goodell.)

Big Coal is a book that debunks today's myth that coal is the best resource to generate power, and that is has become a clean method. From an investigative reporting style, Jeff illuminates America's economic imperatives and the collusion of businesses and politics that has lead us to a dependency on a resource that is continually heating up the planet. The book reveals the truth of what coal is actually doing to the environment in all aspects, including mountaintop removal, and proves the coal industry's "clean coal" promise to simply be an advertising slogan. This book would be a good source for a researcher because it gives an overview of coal in it's many different issues, not just mountaintop removal. Because mountaintop removal is a product of coal extraction, without limiting coal, there's not a solution to stopping mountaintop removal. If a researcher were to study mountaintop removal, he or she would have to do general research on coal's overall impacts, and Big Coal would give the researcher a fact-based proposal to coal's control over America.

Rasmussen, Barbara. (1994). Absentee Landowning & Exploitation in West Virginia. Kentucky: The University Press of Kentucky. 

Barbara Rasmussen, a professor at WVU with a graduate certificate in Cultural Resource Management, writes her thesis on land ownership in the land that she loves, West Virginia. Her thesis includes a detailed history tracing the maneuvers of various agencies and individuals from colonial times, demonstrating that the largest element of this abuse has been committed by land speculators and absentee owners. She includes land records and legal papers to support her argument that economic and environmental exploitation has occurred in West Virginia since the earliest settlement. This book would be a good source for a researcher because it would allow the researcher to observe the economic and environmental practices since the beginning of West Virginia's existence. A researcher may be able to see trends that have happened over a long period of time, and whether mountaintop removal has been practiced for longer than assumed. Knowing this, the researcher can then observe the long-lasting effects of the practice and whether some aspects are fixable over a long period of time.

Friday, 6 June 2008

Expert Sources

Dawson, Tyler. Senior Political Science Student, Ohio University. td332904@ohio.edu.

Tyler Dawson is a senior political science, environmental, and women's studies major at Ohio University. He has been an active crusader for the environment all throughout his college career, becoming involved in the Sierra Coalition and Green Network. He also lived for two years in Ohio University's Eco-House where he made drastic changes to his lifestyle to promote environmental sustainability and justice. More specifically, Tyler mainly worked with the mountaintop removal in his involvement in the Sierra Coalition, when he made his rounds to all of the major Appalachian locations where mountaintop removal was taking place. After his first-hand exposure to the death of these mountains and talking to the people who were being directly affected, Tyler knew he could never take a passive role with the issue of mountaintop removal ever again. With the Sierra Coalition, Tyler was able to work at the grassroots level in stopping mountaintop removal through protests, working with the Appalachian residents, and hosting informational panels/discussions for students on campus and Athens residents. Tyler would be a great resource for researchers because not only is he a very knowledgeable, friendly, and personable guy, but he has a true passion in what he has experienced and studied in college- mountaintop removal having a big part of his college life. Tyler has worked with very active and credible organizations dealing with mountaintop removal, and through his research and first-hand work, has gained a knowledge that surpasses the everyday activist in the topic.

Reece, Erik. Professor of Environmental Studies and Literature, University of Kentucky, Author of Lost Mountain: A Year in the Vanishing Wilderness Radical Strip Mining  and the Devastation of Appalachia.

Erik Reece is one of America's leading environmental journalists today covering the mountaintop removal issue. A professor at the University of Kentucky for environmental journalism classes, his career in reporting the destruction of mountaintop removal began after it moved to the mountains of Kentucky and started affecting his homeland. He decided to investigate one particular mountain in Kentucky, Lost Mountain, and chronicled the year he spent witnessing and researching the decimation and eventual death of this mountain. His testimony was published as "Lost Mountain: A Year in the Vanishing Wilderness Radical Strip Mining and the Devastation of Appalachia." Erik has also spent time traveling to universities within the Appalachian area, speaking about his experience in the strip mines and the devastation of mountaintop removal. Erik would be a first choice source for a researcher because he has had personal, professional, and academic training and experience in mountaintop removal. Because the practice devastated his homeland, he has experienced the emotional part of it, his career in journalism has allowed him to investigate the issue from both sides, and his school background in environmental studies has provided the knowledge needed to research in the field.

Lewis, Ronald. House of Representatives, Member, Author of Transforming the Appalachian Countryside: Railroads, Deforestation, and Social Change in West Virginia. 

Ronald Lewis has been a House of Representatives member for the state of Kentucky since 1994. He also wrote the book "Transforming the Appalachian Countryside: Railroads, Deforestation, and Social Change in West Virginia." The book examined the transformation of Appalachia from a rural agricultural society to a twentieth century society that lacks the forest's natural resources and is fully enmeshed in capitalism and the markets. Lewis details the development of the coal and lumber industries from small, local businesses to powerful industries that are now controlled from afar. The book features a chapter dedicated to the legal system in West Virginia and how industries, like the coal companies, have taken advantage of laws in place regarding the land. This book would be useful to a researcher because it's a very well-researched and very factual account of Appalachia's growth from it's original abundance in natural resources to it's exploitation by the coal industry today. The book looks at the mountaintop removal issue from more of a theoretical and analytical perspective of West Virginia's history as a whole.

Goodell, Jeff. Contributing Editor, Rolling Stones and New York Times, Author of "Big Coal."

Jeff Goodell is a contributing editor at the Rolling Stones and frequent contributor for the New York Times. His major accomplishment is writing his book "Big Coal." This book is Goodell's outraged account of the catastrophic 2002 flooding of a mine in Quecreek, Pennsylvania, run by PBS Coals. The story follows two of the nine mine workers that survived. The book also touches on all aspects of the coal industry's hunt for more coal. It includes discussion on mountaintop removal and covers mainly how the aftereffects of the practice devastates the people who live in the area through contaminated water and layers of dirt and dust. This book would be useful to a researcher because it relates mountaintop removal to even more drastic and fatal consequences. Not only does the practice lead to the death of mountains, but to the death of people as well. Mining for coal has lead to the death of mine workers, and the aftermath of mountaintop removal has lead to a diminished quality of life for residents. A researcher can see how the practice affects many different people and on different levels, and how realizing those effects can invite a whole other spectrum of issues with mountaintop removal. 

Montrie, Chad. Professor, University of Massachusetts Lowell History Dept, Author of To Save the Land and the People.

Chad Montrie teaches environmental history classes at the University of Massachusetts and published his first book, To Save the Land and the People after becoming heavily involved with research in mountaintop removal. The book reminds readers of the war waged by citizens of Appalachia in protecting their farms and communities from the coal industry. The book begins with an examination of the coal industry's force and influence in the region and then relays all of the technological developments that have taken place over the years to allow the coal industry's entrance into the land. The bulk of the book's information lies in the fight of local activists in banning strip mine operations at the state-wide level. The book divides its coverage of local opposition by location and how each state involved has participated in the battle. This book would be useful to a researcher because it shows how each level of campaigning/protesting works; from a grassroots level to the statewide level. A researcher might be interested to know how environmental issues have been addressed at each level and where progress most frequently happens. Knowing how response is delegated at every level of initiating change can reveal a lot about whether the issue is worth fighting for/deserves as much attention/is a problem the whole world should be concerned about/when or how change will be affected.

Thursday, 5 June 2008

Multimedia Resources

Schmerling Documentary Photography. Mountaintop Removal Project and Photo Gallery. Retrieved June 5, 2008, from http://www.schmerlingdocumentary.com/mtr.htm

The Schmerling Documentary Photography website is produced by Mark Schmerling, a native of Pennsylvania and a member of the Guild of Professional Photographers. His purpose in doing documentary photography on mountaintop removal is to employ photography to help raise public awareness, create public outrage, and to pressure officials to act in the long-term interest of the public and environment. This website provides a wonderful display of Mark's photography in a slide show. His photography unveils the destruction mountaintop removals has produced in detail and through a personal, creative, and perspective eye. Many of his photos include the residents that live in these areas behind the backdrop of mountains that have been leveled. Mark's photography would be useful to a researcher because it visually allows the researcher to see how mountaintop removal is performed, and to see the aftermath of it. The photography also provides the researcher with a more personal perspective to the practice and how it affects the people who are surrounded by it on a daily basis.

Novack, David. Burning the Future: Coal in America. Retrieved June 5, 2008, from http://www.burningthefuture.org

David Novack is a Brooklyn filmmaker who directed and produced the Burning the Future: Coal in America documentary film. The film examines the explosive forces that have set in motion conflict between the coal industry and West Virginia residents. Confronted by the U.S.'s coal-based energy policy, local activists watch the nation praise coal without any regard to the devastation it causes. The film also documents the activists' fight for a cleaner, more environmentally-healthy way of life. The trailer for the film and more information about it can be found on the website. More information about David can be found on his Burning the Future blog. This film would be useful to a researcher because it provides an in-depth look at mountaintop removal from more of a political standpoint, and how much of a fight it really has been for both residents and activists to bring minor change to the issue. The film would allow the researcher to see the measures that can be taken and that have been taken to bring change, and also how responsive the government is to environmental and social issues. 

Ohio Valley Environmental Coalition. Reclamation Galleries. Retrieved June 5, 2008, from http://www.ohvec.org/galleries/reclamation/index.html

The Ohio Environmental Coalition is an organized group of all the Appalachia-region groups against mountaintop removal. The website is a compilation of news and links advertising for all mountaintop removal issues and organizations. The website's photo gallery section features photography from a number of different sources. Each link directs the researcher to a different mountain location and the photography that was taken for that area. The photography is more in-depth and focused on revealing the structural damage to the mountains when leveling occurs. The photography featured on this website would be useful to a researcher because it does allow for the researcher to investigate mountaintop removal from an up-close visual perspective. The photos truly reveal what damage is caused to the mountains, and how permanent the damage is. For a researcher, these photos may shed light on more of the technical aspect of mountaintop removal and may trigger more of a geological land search.

Tuesday, 3 June 2008

Online Blogs

Zickefoose, Julie. Mountaintop Removal Mining. Retrieved June 3, 2008, from http://www.juliezickefoose.com/blog/2008/05/going-to-new-river-birding-and-nature.html

Julie Zickefoose is a forty-year-old mother and writer. She is also an NPR commentator on environmental issues, with mountaintop removal issues as her expertise. Her blog contains an in-depth post entry on West Virginia's mountaintop removal, and how it has personally affected her good friends that live amidst it. She also provides an intermixed history and background on the fight against mountaintop removal, and the political battle that has prolonged throughout the past 10 years. Her blog has wonderful photography revealing Appalachia post-mountaintop removal, and even some images that capture the technique in practice. This blog would be useful to a researcher because it gives what no informational website or book can provide, and that is the personal aspect of mountaintop removal effects. Julie has seen the emotional ties to such a destructive practice, and relays that emotion to the public. As much as someone can learn about the technique and history of mountaintop removal, sometimes it's the personal aspect that is most informative.

Provisions Library (Signal Fire Blog). Green Screens: Mountaintop Removal. Retrieved June 3, 2008, from http://wiki.provisionslibrary.org/blog/index.php/2008/04/14/greens-screens-mountaintop-removal/

Provisions Library is a non-profit learning resource for arts and social change. Their Signal Blog features news items with a pop-culture spin. They also produce a monthly email newsletter. Provisions Library's Green Screen blog features news items dealing with today's environmental justice issues. The specified entry on mountaintop removal focuses on filmmaker Michael O'Connell, who documented the struggle between West Virginia activists and coal industries over mountaintop removal. The blog also provides two links, one to an in-depth article detailing the O'Connell's filming of mountaintop removal practices in West Virginia in helping to stop the practice, and the other link for more information about the screening of the documentary. The film is called Mountaintop Removal, and it documents the citizens of the region, and the activist group Appalachian Voices. The Signal blog, and more importantly the links it provides, would be useful to a researcher because it presents the mountaintop removal issue from more of a public sphere, and how the issue has begun to permeate certain areas of society, like the entertainment industry. The blog links allow the researcher to see how serious the issue has become, and how interested the public really is in it. If a movie is being made about the issue, then it obviously has had legitimate impact on society. 

Beetham, John. Help Stop Mountaintop Removal. Retrieved June 3, 2008, from http://dendroica.blogspot.com/2008/04/help-stop-mountaintop-removal-mining.html

John Beetham is an online blogger about birds and environmental issues within the Washington D.C. and New Jersey areas. His blog entry on mountaintop removal has an interesting angle because of the fact that he is a bird expert. After providing the general information on what mountaintop removal is and how it is destructive, John goes more into detail about how it affects the surrounding bird habitats and populations. I have not found any other site that addresses such a specific area that mountaintop removal affects, and it's interesting how his expert study in birds can be applied to this environmental issue. He also provides a link to a list of all the House Representatives in support of the bill to stop mountaintop removal, and advises that you check the list to see if your representative is on it. This online blog would be useful to a researcher because it pinpoints a very specific area that is affected by mountaintop removal and allows the researcher to go deeper than just general information on the issue. A researcher might use this information to further correlate bird populations and mountaintop removal, and produce another studied effect of the mountaintop removal practice.