Judy Needham, “board member of SAMS, resident of Andover, VA.”
“Many community members think, what’s the point? Why spend my time? The big coal companies are going to do whatever they want. But I tell them we’re making some progress. We’re getting these hearings; we’re making some progress. We’ve just got to keep fighting, keep going, we’re making progress. But a lot of them, they do feel hopeless because the coal companies are so intimidating. And they feel that they have the money to do anything, even at any expense to the ordinary person. The coal companies have the money, the resources, connections, politicians
When they tried to get a permit to mine in my community, on the other side, I was just heartbroken that they were going to destroy the mountains that I lived in, that I loved. Pat Jervis was on the board of directors at SAMS. His mother, Maude, got the brochures and came around to get everyone involved in Southern Appalachian Mountain Stewards; it was a fairly new organization. So when she came around, I told her that I would join. And just felt that we needed to try to do something. And we had to fight. So I joined SAMS.
They did get the permit on the other side there, in Andover. And they did blast. I was angry because when we had the hearing in Andover church; DMME did, the informal hearing, they came and we could go on record. It was back in, I guess, 2000, but the gentlemen as good as told us that we could talk all we wanted but there was literally nothing we could do. And then I was angry. That made me even more determined.“