Bob Mullins, “third generation deep-miner, member of SAMS, former Union miner.”
“All the coal miners nowadays outside or underground think that our organization is working against them, by doing away totally with coal. If coal was done away with and we go to some other power or source of power, then they’re not going to have jobs and that’s what they’re worried about. They don’t realize that we’re trying to create more jobs for the underground; they’re shortening their work life by mountaintop removal. Now some of them understand. The ones I’ve talked to, I’ve got a few people that I’ve talked to, they understand what I’m talking about. But they still don’t want us interfering with their homes and their jobs.
Some of these guys that I ride with and are friends with, that’s the only thing they know how to do. They’ve never worked underground and some of them probably wouldn’t work underground if they had the opportunity. And all they know is heavy machinery and the type of work they’re doing, which is mountaintop removal. And I can’t come up to my friends and tell them, ‘quit work.’ Because someone’s going to step in and do that job they’re doing, regardless whether they’re doing it or not. I just as soon my friends to be working as anything than a stranger. And it’s going to be done. The only way we’re going to stop that is to stop all the mountaintop removal and create more jobs.
When this was a union area, the union stuck together, and it’s hard to fight a group. And now I think these neighbors feel that we don’t have a large enough group to protect them. And if you fight too hard, then you could get your windows broke out or your home burnt or something. If you’re too much of a stumbling block, there’s so many miners and things around here that would fight against you. We don’t have the strength as we had when we were all union in this area. You take three or four people up in the area where I live, if we were to go out there and stand in the road, those trucks would run over top of us. But if there was 500 people standing there in the middle of the road, they would stop. So it takes numbers to do anything.“