Larry Bush

Larry Bush, “chairman of the board of SAMS, former deep miner and mine inspector, avid outdoorsmen”

From the time I was seven years old, my dad bought me a little 22 rifle and took me in these mountains, the mountains where I live right now, what’s left of them. And we hunted. I was always taught by my father to respect the mountains and the wildlife. If you don’t eat it, don’t kill it. And to preserve everything that you can for future generations. And one thing that got me involved was that clearcutting issue. I went all over, to every state agency, every federal agency that I could go to, plumb into Washington and everybody tells me the same old story, ‘there ain’t nothing you can do.’

I actually went down below my house one time and called a supervisor, from Division of Mines, DMLR, Division of Mineland Reclamation. Called him up because his inspector wouldn’t write a violation. The mud was so thick on the road, the main road, this is the road that serves Keokee, Exeter, and Imboden. I called up the inspector to look at the mud. I was an inspector so I know what they should do, and I said this inspector ain’t doing nothing. He looked at that mud, as thick as it was on that road there, a danger to people sliding and whatever, and he said, ‘well I ain’t got no problem with it.’ And I told him, I know you don’t have a problem with it, but there are people who live in here that do have a problem with it. Not mention the damage it does to our vehicles. All this washes into the streams. But he didn’t have a problem with it; they still don’t have a problem with it.

Primarily the people suffer from this. You can go into these little communities; these were all set up at mining communities years and years ago. That’s what they’re destroying right now, is all these little communities and their towns. You’d think with coal supposedly, the answer for the future, that everybody around here, the streets would be paved with gold in these communities. But it’s poor. We’re the poorest- I think West Virginia then us then maybe Kentucky. We’re the poorest per-capita state in the union, this part of the state. We’ve been served up to ‘em.

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