Judi Clark, “lifetime resident of the area, board member of SAMS, resident of Big Stone Gap, VA”
“Two years ago, I attended my first Inman community reunion. So in the process of just talking to people and, you know, reconnecting with some people, a lady asked me when was the last time I had gone up on the mountain, meaning Black Mountain. And I told her it’d probably been over 30 years. And she says, ‘Well, you need to go.’ I say, ‘Why?’ She says, ‘I’m not going to tell you, you just need to go.’ I got very curious as to why she wouldn’t say anything. So we took a ride up there after the reunion. And we didn’t go far very, we just went up to the ‘no trespassing’ sign, where the mine’s edge is. And what I saw just made me literally sick. I actually thought I was going to vomit. Then I got angry.
So I knew that a good friend of mine, Sam Broach, was involved in the SAMS organization so we got to talking about it and he was telling me all the things that were going on. And I was just floored. I just thought, how could this happen? It has to be illegal or something, when he was explaining what happened during mountaintop removal and all this. The more he told me, the angrier I got. And I thought, well I’m just one person but I’ve got to try to do something about it.
We just need to get away from coal. We really do because it’s not going to last forever. And we need to have something in place, some kind of renewable energy to take the place of that. And we need to start working on that more now, to have that in place because if coal runs out, then what? We’ll all going to be sitting in the dark. It would literally shut this entire nation down. We need to get away from fossil fuels, that’s just not for the future. We need to do something that’s going to be renewable, that’s going to last. Something that we can use over and over and over without destroying things. So that our future generations are going to have a chance, because our very survival depends on it.“