Ohio University Press · Swallow Press ·

Mountains of Injustice
Social and Environmental Justice in Appalachia

Edited by Michele Morrone and Geoffrey L. Buckley
Foreword by Donald Edward Davis
Afterword by Jedediah Purdy

“The cover of Mountains of Injustice evokes the coalfields of Central Appalachia but, while mining features prominently, editors Michele Morrone and Geoffrey Buckley have gathered studies that reflect the wider urban and rural Appalachian region…. What is most compelling about this volume are the lessons it offers on the experience of uneven development in US capitalism and its associated spaces of ‘sacrifice’.”

Journal of Historical Geography

“There is no equality among American landscapes: some are sacred, some protected against harm, and some sacrificed. As a result, there is no equality among Americans to the degree that they care about their landscapes, identify with them, and wish to imagine that their children and grandchildren might live there as they have.… But if you love the hills of southern West Virginia or eastern Kentucky, if they form your idea of beauty and rest, your native or chosen image of home, then your love has prepared your heart for breaking.”

Jedediah Purdy, author of The Meaning of Property: Freedom, Community, and the Legal Imagination

Mountains of Injustice has much to recommend it. It is deep in historical background, rich in case studies and stocked with helpful data. It also takes a broad purview of environmental justice issues in Appalachia, giving as much attention to hazardous waste and facility siting as to coal extraction and clearcutting.”

Environmental Values

“As Mountains of Injustice makes clear, people suffer because they lack the power and influence to prevent unfair practices. That is the theme hammered home in the essays by a dozen university scholars, environmental researchers and local activists…. Mountains of Injustice keeps environmentalism focused on people and community….”

National Catholic Reporter

Research in environmental justice reveals that low-income and minority neighborhoods in our nation’s cities are often the preferred sites for landfills, power plants, and polluting factories. Those who live in these sacrifice zones are forced to shoulder the burden of harmful environmental effects so that others can prosper. Mountains of Injustice broadens the discussion from the city to the country by focusing on the legacy of disproportionate environmental health impacts on communities in the Appalachian region, where the costs of cheap energy and cheap goods are actually quite high.

Through compelling stories and interviews with people who are fighting for environmental justice, Mountains of Injustice contributes to the ongoing debate over how to equitably distribute the long-term environmental costs and consequences of economic development.

Laura Allen, Brian Black, Geoffrey L. Buckley, Donald Edward Davis, Wren Kruse, Nancy Irwin Maxwell, Chad Montrie, Michele Morrone, Kathryn Newfont, John Nolt, Jedediah S. Purdy, and Stephen J. Scanlan.

Michele Morrone is a professor of environmental health and director of the Appalachian Rural Health Institute at Ohio University. She is coeditor (with Geoffrey L. Buckley) of Mountains of Injustice: Social and Environmental Justice in Appalachia and (with Nina E. Redman) Food Safety: A Reference Handbook.   More info →

Geoffrey L. Buckley is a professor in the department of geography and the Program in Environmental Studies at Ohio University. He is the author of Extracting Appalachia: Images of the Consolidation Coal Company, 1910–1945 and America’s Conservation Impulse: Saving Trees in the Old Line State.More info →

Table of Contents

  • Foreword
    Donald Edward Davis
  • Introduction: Environmental Justice and Appalachia
    Michele Morrone and Geoffrey L. Buckley
  • Part One. Perspectives
    • 1: The Theoretical Roots and Sociology of Environmental Justice in Appalachia
      Stephen J. Scanlan
    • 2: A Legacy of Extraction: Ethics in the Energy Landscape of Appalachia
      Brian Black
    • 3: Pollution or Poverty: The Dilemma of Industry in Appalachia
      Nancy Irwin Maxwell
  • Part Two. Citizen Action
    • 4: “We Mean to Stop Them, One Way or Another”: Coal, Power, and the Fight against Strip Mining in Appalachia
      Chad Montrie
    • 5: Commons Environmentalism Mobilized: The Western North Carolina Alliance and the Cut the Clearcutting! Campaign
      Kathryn Newfont
    • 6: Injustice in the Handling of Nuclear Weapons Waste: The Case of David Witherspoon, Inc.
      John Nolt
  • Part Three. In their Own Words
    • 7: Housewives from Hell: Perspectives on Environmental Justice and Facility Siting
      Michele Morrone and Wren Kruse
    • 8: Stories about Mountaintop Removal in the Appalachian Coalfields
      Geoffrey L. Buckley and Laura Allen
  • Afterword: An American Sacrifice Zone
    Jedediah S. Purdy
  • Contributors
  • Index

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Retail price: $26.95, S.
Release date: February 2013
216 pages · 6 × 9 in.
Rights:  World

Retail price: $49.95, S.
Release date: November 2011
216 pages · 6 × 9 in.
Rights:  World

Release date: November 2011
216 pages
Rights:  World

Additional Praise for Mountains of Injustice

“What is the true cost of coal? Contributors to this well-documented environmental justice volume pose this question…. (C)oal extraction and industrial activities in low-income rural areas also impact the health of residents in a pattern of injustice overlooked in previous studies….”


“The material sandwiched between these weighty essays (by Donald Edward Davis and Jedediah S. Purdy) is notable in that it, too, takes a long, broad, serious view of the context within which the degradation of the Appalachian landscape has occurred.”

Appalachian Heritage

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