Sam Broach, â€œthird generation deep-miner, president of SAMS.â€
“They started stripping in 1962, I think it was, in my little home place in Boggâ€™s Avenue in Appalachia. And they tried to reclaim it and you can go up there right now, I went up there couple weeks ago. And over 40 years, if thatâ€™s what they call reclamation, thatâ€™s a joke. Because it still looks like a barren wasteland up there. Grass but no trees.
Well, really, up until a couple years ago, I hadnâ€™t really paid that much attention to it until a friend of mine started taking me around to some of the sites and seeing what was being done and explaining to me the destruction that mountaintop removal causes. I guess my biggest inspiration was that I used to travel Black Mountain and work across the mountain in Lynch, Kentucky for about 12 years, 12-15 years. And I went up there one day and took a look back at what theyâ€™re doing back there. I got to see the mountain being destroyed and stood there and watched it while they set off blasts. They do that just for a thin seam of coal. And that really broke my heart to see that and I thought, â€˜this has got to be stopped.â€™ And I got to thinking, â€˜well what can one person do against all this?â€™ You know one person canâ€™t do much. And thatâ€™s when I started getting involved with organizations that can be heard, more than just one person.
Of course I understand we need coal until we can transition into some cleaner energy. But they need to find a better way to get it than to destroy the mountains and our water the way they do it. And thatâ€™s what I feel like Iâ€™m fighting. I just want people to know that when I leave this world, Iâ€™ve made some kind of change, a change towards keeping our heritage and our mountains the way they are.“