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Erin Ann Thomas

Interview on Utah Public Radio

Follow the link to hear me discuss Coal in Our Veins: A Personal Journey with radio host, Tom Williams: http://upr.org/post/coal-our-veins-understanding-and-sharing-story-mining-access-utah-tuesday

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Remembering Crandall Canyon Mine Collapse: August 6, 2007

The Weekly Snippet: Selection from Coal in Our Veins Since the Sago disaster, a coal mining accident occurred within twenty miles of Skyline. On August 6, 2007, the roof collapsed on six miners retreat mining in Crandall Canyon, trapping them 1,500 feet underground. The mining company Andalex had just been bought by Robert Murray, of Murray Energy, a company out of Cleveland, Ohio, with such a bad reputation in the East that nobody would give him a mining permit in …

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Wind Power

The Weekly Snippet: Selection from Coal in Our Veins Early in April, when the trees were just beginning to sprout leaves, I traveled to Pennsylvania to inspect the current most feasible alternative to coal. Garrett and Meyersdale are former coal mining communities nestled in hills. The topography did not rise sufficiently to meet my classification of mountain country, but the land rippled into a contour that made me feel at home. As in Appalachia, turning off a major highway plunged …

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A Visit to Big Pit Mining Museum; South Wales

 The Weekly Snippet: Selection from Coal in Our Veins Once my eyes adjusted, I sensed a cave-like coolness. I could hear water dripping, and the light from our lamps reflected against slick walls. I felt what the miners meant by the bowels of the earth. In a sense walking in a coal mine was like being swallowed. The stone seeped, suggesting the digestive juices of a black stomach. I understood why on every descent miners considered the possibility of never …

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Mountain Top Removal: The Beginning

The Weekly Snippet: Selection from Coal in Our Veins As the twentieth century progressed, the idea of the interconnectedness of man and nature gained ground, pricking the nation’s environmental conscience. A poem printed in the United Mine Workers’ Journal in 1950 demonstrates that the union was beginning to anticipate the effect that this would have on the industry: “We should practice conservation / We know we should not waste / the national resources of the nation / yet the greatest …

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Zeph and Maud

The Weekly Snippet: Selection from Coal in Our Veins Lily Maud Rencher, after finishing her normal degree at BYU Academy, taught school for a year in St. George and then moved to the small town of Cleveland to educate the children of farmers and miners. Miss Rencher—called Maud—was a large woman. Her Swedish, Irish, and Welsh background had not blessed her with beauty. At school she had been a student body officer, and in the words of one of her …

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A Visit to the Potomac River Generating Station: A Grandfathered, Coal-fired Plant

The Weekly Snippet: Selection from Coal in Our Veins We file out of the presentation room and put on hardhats, goggles, and earplugs that prove to be essential. It is my first tour of a power plant, having only walked through buildings built in the seventies and early eighties that were designed to resemble power plants. This was before the environmentalist movement took full swing; industrial was in. Utah Valley State College, where my dad worked before he started at …

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May God Forgive

The Weekly Snippet: Selection from Coal in Our Veins  (the event that convinced my great grandfather, Zeph Thomas, it was time to leave Castle Gate, Utah)  In 1925, racial hatred hit a climax. Milton Burns, a company official, was allegedly killed by Robert Marshall, an African American miner. The June 15 incident is still a divisive issue in Carbon County, so even current historians retell the story with different slants, some emphasizing the culpability of Marshall and others focusing on …

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Mining Inevitably Disturbs Land

The Weekly Snippet: Selection from Coal in Our Veins When I visited Blair, one of the remaining residents, Melvin Cook, chatted with his cousin Ralph in his driveway, where their pickup trucks were parked side by side, content like the men to spend the afternoon under the tin overhang. They were both tall—6’2” to 6’3”—and gray-haired but athletic looking. Ralph wore shorts to his knees, socks reaching midshin, and a tucked-in polo shirt. His moustache sat neatly trimmed over his upper …

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Book 1, Book 2, Book 3

Coal in Our Veins: A Personal Journey is now available, and my upcoming scheduled readings are listed on this website.  A “weekly snippet” will be posted on a weekly basis showcasing a short selection from different parts of the book. Rain in Anbar: An Interpreter’s Story of the Sunni Awakening is nearing completion and ready to be pitched. I’m beginning my investigation/writing for Path to Breath: An Asthmatic’s Quest, which will be chronicled at: http://pathtobreath.blogspot.com/  

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