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Standing Our Ground

Women, Environmental Justice, and the Fight to End Mountaintop Removal

Joyce M. Barry

Publication Year: 2012

Standing Our Ground: Women, Environmental Justice, and the Fight to End Mountaintop Removal examines women’s efforts to end mountaintop removal coal mining in West Virginia. Mountaintop removal coal mining, which involves demolishing the tops of hills and mountains to provide access to coal seams, is one of the most significant environmental threats in Appalachia, where it is most commonly practiced.

The Appalachian women featured in Barry’s book have firsthand experience with the negative impacts of Big Coal in West Virginia. Through their work in organizations such as the Coal River Mountain Watch and the Ohio Valley Environmental Coalition, they fight to save their mountain communities by promoting the development of alternative energy resources. Barry’s engaging and original work reveals how women’s tireless organizing efforts have made mountaintop removal a global political and environmental issue and laid the groundwork for a robust environmental justice movement in central Appalachia.

Published by: Ohio University Press

Title Page, Copyright, Dedication, Frontispiece

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pp. ix-x

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pp. xi-xii

I wish to acknowledge many people for their interest and assistance in the production of this book. Thanks for the support of everyone at Ohio University Press, particularly Gillian Berchowitz. I also want to thank Lynda Ann Ewen, whom I met at the annual Appalachian Studies Conference in 2009, ...

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pp. 1-12

I became aware of the process of mountaintop removal coal mining (MTR) in late 1997 during a visit home to West Virginia. While visiting family, I read local newspaper reports on this controversial form of coal extraction. Many people were becoming more cognizant of changes in the coal industry that ushered in ...

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1. Living in a Sacrifice Zone: Gender, the Political Economy of Coal, and Anti–Mountaintop Removal Activism

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pp. 13-38

On a January evening in 2003, Coal River Mountain Watch codirector Judy “Julia” Bonds was home with her grandson when the telephone rang, and the caller ID revealed that the incoming call was from California. Bonds answered, and the man on the other end of the line identified himself as Richard Goldman, ...

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2. Gender and Anti–Mountaintop Removal Activism: Expanding the Environmental Justice Framework

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pp. 39-64

Lorelei Scarbro, former member of the Coal River Mountain Watch, is one of many coalfield women who bear witness to the harmful impacts of coal operations on their communities and the natural environment. She is also among many women who work tirelessly for social, economic, and environmental sustainability ...

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3. Remembering the Past, Working for the Future: West Virginia Women Fight for Sustainable Communities and Environmental Heritage

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pp. 65-93

In 1998, Janice Nease assisted Randy Sprouse and Freda Williams in the formation of the Coal River Mountain Watch in Whitesville, West Virginia, after visiting Kayford Mountain, one of the best places to view a mountaintop removal mining site. She was raised in the Red Warrior coal camp near Kayford Mountain, ...

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4. Saving the Endangered Hillbilly: Appalachian Stereotypes and Cultural Identity in the Anti–Mountaintop Removal Movement

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pp. 94-124

In 2001 Maria Gunnoe, self-described “hillbilly to the core,” lived a quietly domestic life with her husband, a professional masonry worker, and their children in Bob White, West Virginia.1 The couple was active in the kids’ school activities, particularly the football team. ...

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5. Situating the Particular and the Universal: Gender, Environmental Justice, and Mountaintop Removal in a Global Context

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pp. 125-150

In 2001, Sarah Haltom moved from Cleveland, Ohio, to West Virginia. Haltom’s paternal ancestry is situated in Boone County, and she frequently visited the area during her childhood in Cleveland. At the age of ten, she had a particularly vivid dream where she was in West Virginia during the fall, walking on the side of a mountain, ...


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pp. 151-174

Selected Bibliography

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pp. 175-182


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pp. 183-190

E-ISBN-13: 9780821444108
Print-ISBN-13: 9780821419977

Page Count: 208
Publication Year: 2012