National Geographic : 2006 Jul
LETTERS them will help us kick the coal habit. If we don't get sustain able soon, we're likely to go the way of the dinosaurs found in the very coal we're burning. RICH THOMPSON TUCKER Dorset, Vermont Your stories reflect a dooms day mentality. Wouldn't it be better if the states involved come up with a comprehensive plan that also provides for the welfare of those impacted by the mining operations? I know the region well enough to know that when the coal is gone, there is nothing left but a cinder region of poverty and discomfort. If the people could see viable and comfort able futures, then possibly the resistance now exhibited would go away. ROBERT GIBSON Aurora, Illinois Recent mine accidents, not only in this country but world wide, demonstrate the cost in human life of this vocation. Unfortunately, it has been passed down from one genera tion to the next, ensuring, for the most part, poverty, poor health, and a shorter life span. NELSON MARANS Silver Spring, Maryland Were I not a proud member of the coal mining industry, I would have skipped these lop sided articles altogether. Fact: Coal was, is, and will continue to be fundamentally necessary in the production and mass distribution of this magazine. John Mitchell hopefully real ized that his readers rely on ample coal-powered electricity in every facet of daily living. STEVEN R. LEWIS Cedaredge, Colorado As an underground coal miner, I know firsthand the company approach on environment and safety. The scheme is that there will always be a fresh line of employees because of good pay and benefits coupled with the lack of alternative jobs. The plan for the environment is that whatever happens, the company can stonewall the wreckage under "act of God" with litigation that will last longer than the population. The attitude has not varied after numerous deaths under ground and aboveground through the air that we breathe. FRED-ROCK PRIESTER Farmington, West Virginia We in West Virginia who make our living from coal have seen the generosity of the coal companies. Why don't you ask Kanawha County residents about the Friends of Coal soccer complex, or students who work in or around the mines and earn money to go to college? Dig a little deeper into what coal does for West Virginia. Do some research on the hard working coal miner who gets up before daylight and puts in ten- to twelve-hour days to provide energy for America. TIM BELLAMY Beckley, West Virginia ZIP USA: Houston, Texas While it is hypocritical to condemn coal mining while enjoying the benefits of the power it creates, I cannot help but wonder: If the residents of zip 77019 had to float their gondolas in the "toxic soup" (page 111) that the children of Rawl, West Virginia, drink, how quickly things would change. DARREN WARD Salt Lake City, Utah "FOR THE INCREASE AND DIFFUSION OF GEOGRAPHIC KNOWLEDGE" The National Geographic Society is chartered in Washington, D.C., as a nonprofit scientific and educational organization. Since 1888 the Society has supported more than 8,000 explorations and research projects, adding to knowledge of earth, sea, and sky. JOHN M. FAHEY, JR., President and CEO EXECUTIVE VICE PRESIDENTS Terrence B. Adamson Linda Berkeley, President, Enterprises Terry D. Garcia, Mission Programs John Q. Griffin, President, Magazine Group Nina D. Hoffman, President, Books and School Publishing Group Christopher A. Liedel, CFO BOARD OF TRUSTEES Gilbert M. Grosvenor, Chairman Reg Murphy, ViceChairman Joan Abrahamson, Michael R. Bonsignore, Martha E. Church, Roger A. Enrico, John M. Fahey, Jr., Daniel S. Goldin, John Jay Iselin, James C. Kautz, J. Willard Marriott, Jr., Floretta Dukes McKenzie, George Munoz, Patrick F. Noonan, Nathaniel P.Reed, Rozanne L. Ridgway, James R. Sasser, B. 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Smith, Patricia C. Wright, Melinda A. Zeder EXPLORERS-IN-RESIDENCE Robert Ballard, Wade Davis, Jared Diamond, Sylvia Earle, J. Michael Fay, Zahi Hawass, Beverly Joubert, Dereck Joubert, Louise Leakey, Meave Leakey, Johan Reinhard, Paul Sereno, Spencer Wells MISSION PROGRAMS VicePresidents: Barbara A. Chow, Education Foundation John M. Francis, Research, Conservation, and Exploration Jacqueline M. Hollister, Development Sarah Laskin, Public Programs Exhibits: Susan S. Norton Expeditions Council:Rebecca Martin Geography Bee: Mary Lee Elden Lectures: P.Andrew van Duym, Gregory A. McGruder Communications: Betty Hudson, Sr. VicePresident Human Resources:Thomas A. Sablo, Sr. VicePresident International: Robert W. Hernandez, Sr. Vice President Treasurer: H. Gregory Platts, Sr. Vice President NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC VENTURES Dennis R.Patrick, Chairman Timothy T. Kelly, President and CEO Edward M. 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