Sam Broach

Sam Broach, “third generation deep-miner, president of SAMS.”

They started stripping in 1962, I think it was, in my little home place in Bogg’s Avenue in Appalachia. And they tried to reclaim it and you can go up there right now, I went up there couple weeks ago. And over 40 years, if that’s what they call reclamation, that’s a joke. Because it still looks like a barren wasteland up there. Grass but no trees.

Well, really, up until a couple years ago, I hadn’t really paid that much attention to it until a friend of mine started taking me around to some of the sites and seeing what was being done and explaining to me the destruction that mountaintop removal causes. I guess my biggest inspiration was that I used to travel Black Mountain and work across the mountain in Lynch, Kentucky for about 12 years, 12-15 years. And I went up there one day and took a look back at what they’re doing back there. I got to see the mountain being destroyed and stood there and watched it while they set off blasts. They do that just for a thin seam of coal. And that really broke my heart to see that and I thought, ‘this has got to be stopped.’ And I got to thinking, ‘well what can one person do against all this?’ You know one person can’t do much. And that’s when I started getting involved with organizations that can be heard, more than just one person.

Of course I understand we need coal until we can transition into some cleaner energy. But they need to find a better way to get it than to destroy the mountains and our water the way they do it. And that’s what I feel like I’m fighting. I just want people to know that when I leave this world, I’ve made some kind of change, a change towards keeping our heritage and our mountains the way they are.

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