Vernon Haltom served as an Air Force officer for six years, supervising an aircraft maintenance unit and an explosives and nuclear safety staff. Vernon volunteered at Coal River Mountain Watch for two years while teaching English as a second language at Mountain State University. He is now co-director of Coal River Mountain Watch.

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The communities of the Coal River Valley suffered a heartbreaking catastrophe on April 5, 2010, when Massey Energy’s Upper Big Branch longwall mine exploded, killing 29 miners in the worst U.S. mine disaster in 40 years. The disaster at Upper Big Branch should remind the nation that with our current dependence on coal for electricity …

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