RAZING APPALACHIA explores the con-troversial issue o mountaintop removalmining by ollowing a grassroots ght tostop the process in West Virginia. Set inPigeonroost Hollow, a valley in the town oBlair in the misty olds o the AppalachianMountains, the lm ollows the journey oseveral amilies as they struggle to protecttheir land. Pigeonroost, with its narrowcreek and crawdads, its wild ginseng andraccoons, looks as it might have a centuryago — a woody haven tucked away romthe march o time and technology. But or how long? And at what price? The ortunes and history o the peopleo West Virginia are virtually inseparablerom coal mining. As long as anyone canremember, men have ought the mountains with pickax and shovel to dig out the shinyblack rock that powers the everexpandingenergy demands o the United States. Butthose early miners never knew that oneday, 20-story tall machines called drag-lines would bite into the earth and move ahundred tons o rock at a time. Mountain-tops (called “overlays” by the coal miningindustry) are literally sliced o and throwndown into valleys and streams below in aneort to get at the coal buried deep inside.In May 1998, Arch Coal, Inc. announcedit would expand its Dal-Tex strip mine justabove the small town o Blair. Rock and soildebris rom a mountaintop mine stretchingve square miles would bury PigeonroostHollow and Creek. But lietime residentssaid too many in their community had al-ready been bought out or chased away bythe gigantic mine. In the ace o thunderousblasting and lung-choking dust caused bymountaintop mining, 40 amilies, wherethere were once 300, stayed in Blair. The lm also digs into the history o coalin West Virginia, the only state that liesentirely in Appalachia. Archival photographsand lms, and testimony rom miners andamilies whose lands are being irreparablyaltered by strip mining, reveal the harshhistory o a place where backbreaking work, poverty and isolation have taken their toll. An all-but-orgotten historic event, theBattle o Blair Mountain, is documented— the only time in history that the UnitedStates government dropped bombs on itsown people, during the ght to unionize thecoalmines in 1921.
In the misty folds of the Appalachian Mountains, RAZING APPALACHIA shows how the townspeople are fighting to save their homes.