The Last Mountain
2011 | 95 min
The mining and burning of coal is at the epicenter of America’s struggle to balance its energy needs with environmental concerns. Nowhere is that concern greater than in Coal River Valley, West Virginia, where a small but passionate group of ordinary citizens are trying to stop Big Coal corporations, like Massey Energy, from continuing the devastating practice of Mountain Top Removal.
“Is there another state in the union more cruelly defaced than West Virginia? Its mountains have been blown up, its forests ripped out and thrown away, and the green new land that the settlers discovered decades ago now includes a wasteland of a million dead and toxic acres. Nationally, one in 100,000 people get brain tumors. In a West Virginia town surrounded by strip mining, six neighbors have developed brain tumors. What are the odds of that?"
~ Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times
“In the tradition of great advocacy documentaries, "The Last Mountain" makes a powerful case against the coal mining industry in West Virginia. Films like this are largely preaching to the choir -- opponents are unlikely to go near it. But its importance cannot be underestimated.”
~ Sundance Film Festival Jury
Bill Haney's ecological documentary The Last Mountain traces the horrific ecological fallout from the practice of mountain-top removal that has been employed throughout West Virginia. The filmmakers show how local communities, with the help of such national figures in ecology as Robert F. Kennedy Jr., stand up to industries that are making decisions harmful to their lives."
~ Jason Buchanan, TV Guide
“Thoroughly fed up but refusing to give in, the residents of the Coal River valley in West Virginia endure earsplitting explosions, raining boulders, toxic sludge and poisoned wells. Their tormentor is the union-busting, environmental-law-flouting Massey Energy Company and its use of the controversial mining strategy called mountaintop removal. Their solution is a grass-roots campaign to force the company to cease and desist, and Bill Haney’s furious documentary, “The Last Mountain,” is completely on board...”
~ Jeannette Catsoulis, New York Times
"As Bill Haney's infuriating, straightforward documentary argues, the coal industry is not only poisoning our air and water but our democracy as well. The title refers to the Coal River Mountain in West Virginia, the only peak in the area unleveled by Massey Energy (you might remember them and their loathsome CEO Don Blankenship from last year's Upper Big Branch mine explosion that killed 29 people). …On the demonstrators' side is Bobby Kennedy Jr. (RFK's son), justice, and common sense. They point out that wind farms not only don't pollute, they also bring in more money and jobs. Commie hippies! Who will win? The answer might surprise you. "
~ Peter Keough, The Boston Phoenix