Mountain Top Removal (2006)


“It don’t grow back.”

Here is something to ponder. If a tree falls in the forest with no one there to hear it does it make a sound?… Likewise if a mountain is chopped away will it grow back? Mountain Top Removal examines the controversial coal mining practice that occurs throughout Southern Appalachia in the US. Slow removal of coal from this mountainous region is resulting in leveled forests, destruction of communities and threatened water supplies Though, coal might be the cheapest domestic fuel source, it releases carbon dioxide into the atmosphere and its runoffs poison the groundwater.

Ed Wiley, a grandfather, brought his concerns about mountain top coal removal to the Governor of Virginia’s office and then marched from Charleston to Washington, DC bringing awareness to the threatened school that his grandchild attends near a mining site.

Passions run high for those most affected by mountain top removal at a time when 50% of the nation’s electricity supply depends on coal.

Michael Cusack O’Connell is an award winning cinematographer/director based in Pittsboro North Carolina. In 2005 his Independent production company Haw River Films released the musicalmentary

Grassroots Stages, which was distributed nationally on PBS. Mountain Top Removal is the second documentary feature from Haw River Films.

One Comment Add yours

  1. F. Los says:

    With one of the best soundtracks you’ll find for the environmental film category, this documentary really has the power to get viewers riled up. It also gets high marks for its decidedly personal focus, which profiles the affected residents who are fighting the wealthy coal industry.
    Most environmentalists have probably heard a lot about the practice of mountain top mining, which effectively scrapes the top of coal-bearing mountain ridges, and destroys everything else in the process. But they will be outraged to see the actual extent of destruction happening right now in the Southern US, as depicted in Mountain Top Removal.
    This movie appropriately formed a double bill with Land out of Time, and together they offer a brutal indictment on the Bush administration’s environmental policies.
    For some more information on this, check out Robert F. Kennedy’s book, Crimes Against Nature, which details these specific environmental abuses along with many, many more.


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