Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Author John Grisham Takes on Strip Mining and Mountain Top Removal

The #1 best seller on the New York Times fiction list is Gray Mountain, by John Grisham.

John Grisham

It is amazing when an author of Grisham's power and popularity takes on environmental and political issues like strip mining and mountaintop removal. Grisham's novel is connected to my family in a way. When doing his research for the book, he interviewed lawyers in the Appalachian Citizens' Law Center in Whitesburg, Kentucky. My brother-in-law, Steve Sanders, is the founder and executive director of this nonprofit, the goal of which is "Fighting for Justice in the Coalfields."

Steve has been involved on this work since graduating from Vanderbilt Law School in 1978. He has worked often alongside Tony Oppegard, another hero in the fight for justice in the coalfields.

Strip mining and mountaintop removal, black lung disease, widespread damage to the environment and to the health of people in the coalfields. It is hard to imagine that coal has defenders who defend the indefensible--people like Senator Mitch McConnell and mine owner Robert Murray!

I will write more about this novel as I get deeper into the reading.

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