Justice in Appalachia?

 

On August 20th, 2004, a truck reconstructing a haul road outside of designated permit boundaries on a mountaintop removal coal mine in Wise Co., VA dislodged a boulder, sending it crashing into a home in the community of Inman below the mine, killing a 3 year old boy named Jeremy Davidson. Ten years later, this mine still operates, destroying the mountain above Inman, and, according to peer-reviewed research, shortening the lives of all those living near it.

 

The man that owns that mine is Jim Justice, through several layers of subsidiary corporations. Justice is a billionaire son of a coal operator, who has grown his personal and family fortune through cutthroat business practices that include not paying contractors and workers, delayed payment of violations and fees, and discharging toxic pollutants into headwater streams and generally cutting corners on sprawling surface mines.

 

As operators like Jim Justice face the changing economic landscape of the coal industry, they are more and more likely to close up shop on these operations, leaving communities and workers footing the bill of lasting debts, clean up of polluted land and water, and holding the bag of a collapsed coal-dependent economy.

 

With the Justice to Justice campaign, we hope to raise the issue of impacts from surface mining to a national level, to force another company to commit to an end of this destructive practice, and to raise the question of how we as a society will hold corporations responsible for our blasted mountains, streams and communities.

 

While the Justice family companies are not publicly traded corporations, they are a very public facing family, being owners of several resort and tourist destinations, including the Greenbrier and Wintergreen resorts. We believe that Jim Justice should be held accountable for the costs he's forcing on communities in the coalfields, and we seek opportunities to apply public pressure to the Justice family to force them to the table with regards to our demands. We ask people across the country and region to take a closer look at Jim Justice's operations, and demand that he do right by the communities that have helped to build his fortune.