Doug Thompson


Mr. Peabody’s coal train done hauled it away

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In our humble opinion, no song better tells the story about the devastation of strip mining and mountaintop removal than John Prine‘s haunting “Paradise,” an ode to the Kentucky community wiped off the map by the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) through both strip mining and health hazards from the a coal-burning electrical power plant.

This fitting tribute to Prine’s song was performed by Bernie Coveney & Friends at a concert a few years ago at Oak Grove Pavilion at Zion Luthern Church with Mike Mitchell (fiddle) and Abe Goorskey (mandolin) handling the vocals, Coveney on guitar and Chris Luster on bass.

I put together a version of this back when it was shot in 2007 but didn’t really like it so I dug through my collection of coal mining photos and recut it from original footage shot at the time and will be part of a longer documentary on Floyd’s music culture.  Some of the photos are mine, others are stock images.  I hope they help tell a story that needs to be told over and over.

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3 Responses to Mr. Peabody’s coal train done hauled it away

  1. Robb January 16, 2012 at 11:08 am

    “Mr. Peabody did exactly what the laws let him get by with at that time-just like cold blooded murderers are allowed to walk free due to our laws today; crap like this gives Surface Mining a bad rap-can you say propaganda?

  2. Viento January 16, 2012 at 1:36 pm

    Peabody’s not the only coal company that regularly pollutes,cheats land holders,associates,and steam rolls anyone who questions their programs.Check out the mines on the Illinois-Indiana line north of Evansville,IN. Check out the Wabash river.

  3. Doug Thompson January 16, 2012 at 4:26 pm

    For the sake of argument, let’s look at just how Peabody follows the law.

    In 2010, the company was cited for safety violations 3,233 times — an average of nine violations a day — just in its U.S. operations.

    The Kentucky mine strip mining operations received more than 5,000 safety violation citations, 2,313 citations for operating beyond the scope of its permits and 4,313 times for environmental violations. The company paid more than $100 million in fines just on the Kentucky strip mine.

    The company is currently involved in more than a 100 legal cases just with state and local governments.