Reviews

Library Journal
(c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Against the backdrop of the West Virginia Appalachians, filmmaker Haney documents the fight to save Coal River Mountain, the last remaining peak in the area, before it is sheared away by a coal mining process known as mountaintop removal (MTR). The film combines stunning visual imagery, effective aerial shots, and the commentary of impassioned local advocates and seasoned environmentalists like Robert Kennedy Jr. Viewers come to understand the MTR process and how it flattens and defoliates the landscape, places the surrounding valleys and hollows in the path of flash flooding and silica dust storms, and compromises the health and safety of residents. Kennedy is a powerful presence, both in the battle to save the mountain and on screen, gamely tangling with a coal executive and placing environmental protests in historic and political context. No less compelling are the smart, plain-spoken locals who craft a creative alternative energy proposal that addresses economic and environmental concerns. Bonus features include the trailer, outtakes, and a question-and-answer session with Kennedy. VERDICT Though the outcome of their battle is discouraging, Haney and the subjects of the film manage to convey equal amounts passion and information without one muddying the other. The result is a film with wide appeal and one that advocacy groups of all stripes will find to be educational and inspiring.-Joan Pedzich, formerly with Harris Beach PLLC, Pittsford, NY (c) Copyright 2012. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.


School Library Journal
(c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Gr 9 Up-The rich biodiversity of the forests and land that surround Coal River Mountain, West Virginia, lies atop a valuable fossil fuel: coal. The mountain and the hollows of Appalachia are the stage for a colossal struggle between people fighting to protect their homes and corporations seeking to make a profit. This story has been told in other documentaries, such as Burning the Future: Coal in America. The grassroots organizers and residents are familiar-Maria Gunnoe, Bo Webb, Dr. Ben Stout, and Joe Levett. So too are the antagonists-Massey Energy, Don Blankenship, and Joe Manchin. What is added to this film, and is its highlight, is the involvement of Robert F. Kennedy, Jr., who joined the fight to save the mountain. Segments of the program illustrate the process of mountaintop removal mining, restoration, slurry ponds, and coal-fired power plants. Other portions of the film discuss the health concerns of the people living near the mines and power plants; the election of George W. Bush and the political power of dollars from corporate America, government legislation, and subsidies to the coal industry; the work of Climate Ground Zero (an environmental group that uses civil disobedience and nonviolence to stop the mining); and wind farms as an alternate energy solution. It is an incredible story playing out now, in real time, and this powerful documentary tells it well. Classrooms across the curriculum can utilize this program to discuss and research a multiplicity of topics.-Patricia Ann Owens, Illinois Eastern Community Colleges, Mt. Carmel (c) Copyright 2012. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.