Stephen and Virginia Comer hardly see themselves as environmental activists.
A strikingly beautiful leg of West Virginia Route 3 passes through one of the richest coal mining areas of the country.
West Virginia's history has long been marked by extractive industries.
Sitting on the shaded front porch of his two-room cabin on a lazy August afternoon, Delphin Brock pointed toward the next mountain ridge where a few weeks earlier heavy equipment was remaking the landscape. Then, he said, noise from the mining activity echoed over the mountains.
I rejoiced this week when President Barack Obama and Gina McCarthy, administrator of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, announced the new regulations on emissions from coal-fired power plants. It’s the first step, albeit a baby step, in seriously dealing with the impending disaster of climate change.
Pastoral letters tend to function as top-down, formal documents from Catholic bishops filled with instructions and moral directives.
But for its next statement, the Catholic Committee of Appalachia, a 44-year old organization devoted to social and environmental justice, is flipping that model upside down.