Coal’s damage to W.Va.

Reading Brett Dunlap’s Sept. 8 article in The Parkersburg News and Sentinel on the impact of the coal industry for the good of West Virginia, I cannot help but be reminded of the famous 1940 speech by British Prime Minister Winston Churchill when he so elegantly praised the RAF for their heroic stand against Hitler’s German Air Force by saying: “Never in the field of human conflict was so much owed by so many to so few.”

Unfortunately, in West Virginia, the coal industry is not “the few” like the Fighter Command of the Royal Air Force. And the conflict here has not been against a foe like the German Luftwaffe in the Battle of Britain.

Instead, the coal industry, including many carpetbagger companies from other states, has waged a long assault on many poor and isolated people in one of the smallest and weakest states of our union.

The continual damage that the coal industry has delivered to West Virginia, by polluting many of its streams and poisoning its air, plus the destruction of so much natural landscape by their ravenous surface mining practices-leaving vast areas of devastation that make the bombed ruins of German cities like Dresden and Berlin in the Second World War seem almost trivial in comparison.

Fortunately the human death toll here has not been as great, but, who knows what our total fatalities will eventually be from the continual burning of fossil fuels with their sulfuric contributions to the world’s climate change dilemma.

The coal industry owes “the few” of West Virginia so much more than the monetary “crumbs” mentioned in Dunlap’s article.

Of course, if they are to pay West Virginia a “fare” return for the havoc the coal industry has created in our state, they would have to pay so much more and, sadly, pay additional for the support of appropriate political powerbrokers for these funds to be gathered and dispersed to the heroic “few” in our state.

Stanley Cole

Parkersburg