The Last Mountain
By Sr. Rose Pacatte, FSP
This feature-length documentary is about a group of people
from Coal River Valley, W.Va. and their efforts to stop Massey Energy from
blasting Cold River Mountain, the last of five hundred Appalachian mountaintops
that had been blasted for coal.
Not only are local activists featured, but Robert Kennedy,
Jr., an environmental attorney and activist lends his considerable support and
legal knowledge to stop the destruction of Cold River Mountain.
The aerial cinematography of the vast destruction resulting
from coal mining are especially powerful, as are Kennedy’s encounters with
Massey Coal executives who are unable to respond adequately to charges of
environmental and human destruction brought about by the corporation’s
I was impressed by Kennedy’s passionate explanation of Big
Coal’s greatest success: the destruction of the democratic process from the
local level to the federal. At a recent press day he told film critics: “They
(Massy Energy and others) have succeeded in doing catastrophic damage to the
state (of West Virginia); they flattened an area the size of Delaware, 1.4
million acres over the last ten years according to the EPA, buried 2200 miles
of rivers and streams, cut down 500 of biggest mountains in West Virginia.
“The problem,” Kennedy continued, “is where you see large
scale destruction of the environment of this magnitude you also see the
subversion of democracy and that is the real victory big coal has accomplished
in West Virginia.”
“The Last Mountain” was written and directed by
award-winning filmmaker Bill Haney of UnCommon Productions. Tim Disney,
grandson of Roy and Edna Disney, is one of the executive producers as he was on
another of Haney’s documentaries, “The Price of Sugar” (2007) that exposed
grave human and social tragedy perpetrated by large corporations in the
The good news is that there are two remedies available to
citizens and believers who care about people and the environment: become involved
in the democratic process from your local zoning office to town and city
councils and support alternative energy sources such as wind farming. The film
concludes at Portsmouth Abby in Rhode Island where the Benedictine monks
installed a windmill, inspiring the town to switch to
wind energy as well.
“The Last Mountain” is the most important film I have seen
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