Actress Ashley Judd Calls for End to Mountaintop Coal Mining in Kentucky, Says Workers Should Be Retrained

By Adam Cassandra | June 10, 2010 | 11:40 AM EDT

A mountaintop mining site at Kayford Mountain, W.Va. The Environmental Protection Agency put hundreds of mountaintop coal-mining permits on hold Tuesday, saying it wants to evaluate the projects' impact on streams and wetlands. (AP File Photo/Jeff Gentner)

Washington ( – Actress Ashley Judd said Wednesday in an appearance at the National Press Club that she would like to see mountaintop coal mining ended in her native state of Kentucky and coal miners retrained for better jobs. asked Judd at the conclusion of her speech what the coal miners should do for jobs if the mines shut down.
“As soon as it was adjourned I was like, ‘What’s the one thing that I wish I had time to talk about?’ and it’s the fact that coal miners need to be supported. They need to be retrained and given the first crack at better jobs,” Judd said. 

Asked what the miners should be retrained to do, Judd said: “Well, I mean, it’s not my job to figure that out. But you know what I mean? There has to be community, state, and federal initiatives to help get coal miners into technical and vocational training so they have a skill set that’s an asset in a new economy.”
When asked if she thought the government should shut down the mining and pay for the retraining of the miners, Judd declined to answer, telling “You know, I’m not going to get into that kind of detail because there are people who are more policy expert at those particular kinds of questions."
Judd spoke before a luncheon crowd to raise awareness about the harmful effects of mountaintop coal mining, and to ask for support to stop the mining practice. 
“By the end of our time here together today, I hope you will commit your journalistic integrity to stop mountaintop removal immediately,” Judd said.
“Mountaintop removal coal mining simply would not happen in any other mountain range in the United States,” Judd said. “It is utterly inconceivable that the Smokies would be blasted, the Rockies raised, the Sierra Nevadas flattened, that bombs the equivalent to Hiroshima would be detonated every single week for three decades.”
“The fact that the Appalachians are the Appalachians makes this environmental genocide possible and permissible.”