[SLIDESHOW] Wildcat Coal Lodge: Trustees approve name amid protests

By Roy York
Student and community protesters filled the 18th floor of the Patterson Office Tower to express scathing disapproval as the Board of Trustees approved a motion to include “coal” in the name of the new Wildcat Lodge on Tuesday. But the shouts fell on deaf ears.

In a quick vote, board members voted 16-3 to name the future Wildcat Lodge the “Wildcat Coal Lodge” at the request of Joseph W. Craft III, the president of Alliance Coal who donated $7 million to be given over a 10-year period for the construction of the new residence hall. The only three board members who dissented were faculty representative Ernie Yanarella, staff representative Robynn Pease and Student Government President Ryan Smith.

Smith said the new Wildcat Lodge will allow UK to house more students and has potential to be a model for clean coal technology on campus, but said he would oppose the motion “as a voice for the student body.” However, protesting students did not need Smith’s words to have their voices heard.

After the vote, students and community members jumped from their chairs and approached the ropes separating board members from the audience. Shouts of  “We all live downstream,” “Move forward not backward” and “Remember Joe B.” stopped the meeting cold.

The board adjourned for a short recess and several members, including President Lee Todd, retired to a back room as students continued criticizing board members. UK Police eventually approached the protesters and the group left the meeting. No citations or arrests were made.

Students and other protesters were not allowed to speak formally during the meeting because they did not follow the formal process to be placed on the meeting agenda, Todd said.

Todd said the name was approved simply because the university accepted a proposal from a group of donors who wished to fund the new residence hall. They had an idea for the name of the building and the naming committee approved the suggestion, he said.

“We sign agreements with all donors and there are always stipulations,” Todd said.

Board members sparred over the issue as points were raised on both sides.

“This sets a precedent of identifying industry with university property,” Yanarella said. “Had Phillip Morris given $7 million, there would be similar objections.”

The UK Athletic Association reported the $7 million gift was the largest it has ever received.

The majority of the board felt the naming proposal would not harm the university, and many said coal was a natural resource and a vital part of Kentucky’s economy.

“I consider coal to be a source of great pride,” Jo Curris, a finance committee member, said. “Coal can very well be that mechanism that is going to retrigger the economy for the Commonwealth.”

Pro “Wildcat Coal Lodge” board member comments drew angry shouts from the crowd and protesters were eager to share their outrage.

“It appears Lee Todd wants to have his cake and eat it too,” said Nathan LeClaire, a philosophy junior and a member of UK Greenthumb. “He wants to appear green without walking the walk.”

Danny Cotton, a senior English major and a member of Kentuckians for the Commonwealth, said UK has never named a building after a single industry or lobbying group, and he said the move makes Todd’s sustainability initiative harder to be taken seriously.

“We didn’t name the library the ‘Peanut Butter Library,’ we named it the William T. Young Library,” Cotton said.

[poll id=”3″]

Just saw a couple of earlier things that bother me:


When did I say I was against clean coal legislation? I clearly said that the same people who oppose coal are the same people who are against clean coal legislation. We want to make it cleaner but others stand in our way. I don’t think you will meet one person who is associated with mining that is against clean coal legislation. That is a rediculous accusation. Why do you think I’m in mining engineering? To improve a method or to stick with the old one? Wow, I still can’t even believe that you would say that. Why in the world would we be against clean coal? It is those who are in opposition that are against this legislation which is very frustrating considering they are the ones who are complaining and they don’t want to help us to do anything about it.


Actually, an unsafe mine is not okay. They can pay hundreds of thousands of dollars in fines if they are unsafe. A slashed cable that hasn’t been taped is $1300 alone just to give you an idea. An unsafe mine cannot make a good profit for this reason.

And just like in any other industry, every employee cannot be regulated all the time.

By the way, I would say the same thing for the coal mine I worked at in northeast Texas. They were very people and safety oriented. They make up a large part of Texas’ power grid. Also, you can hardly compare Texas and Kentucky. Texas has immense land area to have enough room for the amount of wind turbines and solar panels that would be necessary to maintain the same energy usage. Kentucky, especially in the eastern part of the state, does not have this kind of area. Like I’ve said before though, the best place to out a wind turbine in Eastern Kentucky is on a reclaimed mountain top removal site.

The mountains of Kentucky were created by God to provide us with natural resources to use and survive….When MountainTop Removal occurrs, then it is only right that the large cooporation(s) leave the Mountain Top that was Removed refurbished so that years down the road it will not become an eyesore. If Mountain Top Removal is stopped what will these people do for income that work in minning…how will they live…..Yeah, clean energy is wonderful and I am all for cleaner air, but is there a plan set in place to accomodate those individuals and families that would loose their ability to earn a decent living if Mountain Top Removal is prohibited? I don’t have all the answers but in Eastern Kentucky there honestly isn’t too many jobs that can pay the wages/salary that minning pays…..is the solution to keep on building fast food restaurants, live on unemployment until that ends, or try to get a check for some mental or physical disability, or shouldn’t the individual that is working in minning be allowed to provide for themselves and their families with a job that pays well enough to provide for their needs. Coal Minning is part of Kentucky Heritage…..many individuals that have jobs in the minning industry do this because their daddy or grand-father’s did this. They work long, difficult, hours and most breath dirty air, in not so great working conditions. If there were seriously that many great optioins or alternatives available don’t you think those hard working miners would already be out there taking advantage of them? Not everyone wants to go to college, this doesn’t mean that person is too dumb, it is a choice and after all shouldn’t everyone have control of their own lives and individuality……I suppose if the solar powered clean energy alternatives were up, going and paying the same type of wages that minning does, then this could possibly give people of coal a sense of security;however I’m not aware of any place my family members could obtain employment at in Eastern Kentucky that would provide them with the same standard of living they have worked their entire lives to achieve once minning is prohibited…..Life is full of choices and consquences…….granted if there were better opportunities available in Eastern Kentucky, then individuals wouldn’t have to resort to minning, but don’t take away the minimal opportunities that are already in place…..Severance taxes from coal minning have helped build roads in Kentucky and this has affected every individual living in the state……Without coal there would also be a lot of jobs lost on the Railroad……who would want to move to a community that has nothing to offer……if I worked in the medical profession I would want to live in a place I could enjoy spending the money I earn…..How would this affect our schools……We already have a difficuilt time keeping good teachers in the area…..Maybe the pencil pushers in Frankfort and Washington need to come to Eastern Kentucky and take a walk in the day and life of an jobless person, with limited resources and no housing to see what it is really like. It is really scarey to think about how it will be once more individuals are left unemployed. Everyone should think about this and try to come up with a solution that will allow all to benefit. I am not from Hollywood, but I will exercise my right to free speech before that is taken away.

Tex: You seem to have misunderstood me. I don’t think that there are not alternative sources of energy, I know there are. I believe we can and have done all the things you said in your post, so I also believe that clean coal technology is a possibility. We do need to bridge over to other forms of energy on down the road, but right now coal is what we have. Like or not, we have to use it until something else comes along. There is absolutely no sense in the anti coal people throwing such a fit over coal mining, when it has to be done to keep powering electricity, if only for the time being. I also know that regardless of what China uses to power their energy, we will still mine coal. If we don’t use it here, we will just ship it to China and let them use it. I also know, because I live in southeastern Kentucky, the impact that coal has on our region. You don’t live there, I seriously doubt you have visited 3 counties in the region. It is the people like you Tex, all the little “Texs” of the world that really believe you know about what happens in eastern Kentucky. My friend, it is the Chasitys of the world that understand what coal mining means to the people in the coal regions. Eastern Kentucky is a very poverty stricken region and without coal mines it would be a ghost town. I don’t know about fortune 500 companies in Kentucky, I make no claims to. I do know that many successful people live here. There are engineers, doctors, lawyers, nurses, teachers, ect. They may not make millions, but they like what they do and love the area. In my eyes, that means a little more than being part of a fortune 500 company. So contrary to what you believe, you can’t throw a few dollars at us and make us change our values, it’s our values that make us support coal mining and the people in the coal fields. You can talk down and even insult me, I am trying my best to be a little more mature than that. God knows I can hot over the issue, because unlike you, I have direct ties to not only Kentucky, but the coal fields of Kentucky. My grandfather, uncles, cousins and even my brother all worked in the coal industry, and I am nothing but proud of them. I am dating a senior in the mining engineering program, but I assure you I supported coal long before I met him. However, I do not understand how you people make claims to know more about mining than the mining engineering students! They have gone to college to study mining and most are from the area. They have degree in engineering based on mining, and yet you people know more about it than them. Jarrod, Mallory, Tyler, Nate and several others study about mining, they know what they are talking about. They use facts to support their arguments. Tyler and Nate both have graduated and passed the FE exam and are practicing engineers, and both are very intelligent. They have not been rude, but they have been very professional and stated a lot of facts. I make no claim to know as much about mining as those people, but I do know what coal mining means to people back home. I am proud to be from the area and I am proud to support mining, with or without your approval.

@Chastity: Every state has unique opportunities for renewable and alternative energy development. It just depends how much you prioritize it. If it wanted, Kentucky could have a great future promoting nuclear energy, solar energy and natural gas. But judging by your comments, you seem to be for the whole “aw shucks, it’s coal here in Kentucky or nothing” okie-doke. All it takes is a few dollars to keep folks like you in line.

The industry and its enablers would rather spread lies about renewable and alternative energy, to scare folks, rather than work constructively to promote something that is useful to society and would create jobs — but would also challenge Big Coal to stop doing business as usual.

ps- How’s that CO2 capture and storage going there? You guys in the coal industry have that up and running yet? It’s funny how whenever an underdeveloped energy technology that benefits the coal industry is proposed, it’s great! When an underdeveloped technology comes along that might compete with the industry — “Oh no!! We can’t have that!! It doesn’t work!”

I would invite anyone who is upset with the coal industry to contact the offices of Speaker Pelosi, and Senators Harry Reid and Barbara Boxer, to make sure that the coal industry don’t get too many handouts in the climate bill. Let’s incentivize cleaner, more sustainable energy. Natural gas can lead the way. So can wind, solar and nuclear.

Also, re: Kentucky being full of happy young professionals, compared to other states … whatever. Kentucky isn’t nationally competitive compared to other states. There’s no point in further arguing that, unless you have evidence to suggest that the other stats I mentioned above (education, health care and per capita income, and life expectancy) aren’t as poor in Kentucky compared to the rest of the nation as we both know them to be.

If you still feel in your blessed heart that Kentucky is just The Place to be for young professionals, look up and let me know how many Fortune 500 firms are there headquarted in Kentucky, compared to Texas, New York, California, Illinois, Florida, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania and my native Virginia. The entire state of Kentucky has only 2 more Fortune 500 firms headquartered there as the tiny District of Columbia.

Deborah: This isn’t France. A student petition isn’t going to change the mind of a committee of men who are the property of Big Coal. They have bigger things to worry about than peaceful, respectful whimpering by enfeebled people. It’s like going to a pimp and saying, “Here’s my petition. I’m being respectful. Please stop exploiting me.” You need to do more than that.

I’m not against natural resource industries. My grandfather was a logger. I’m against the lies that are being spread about coal by Big Coal and its supporters — and I’m against this PR blitz to suggest that coal is the energy source of the future. It’s the energy source of the 1830s. We can do better than this. We’re the most technologically advanced nation in the world, and yet some folks want us to rely on the same energy source as the Chinese do. We can send men to the moon, and transplant new faces onto people, and build computers that can literally make thousands of trillions of calculations a second, and yet the Chastitys of the world don’t think you can figure out alternative energy in Kentucky. Interesting.

The hydroelectric plant itself says it sells energy to KU, so…. it definitely goes into the grid. But whatever, nobody here is going to be convinced of anything they don’t already believe. It will be interesting to see where we are as a state and as a country in 10 years, energy wise.

I am a PhD candidat at UK. My father and his father were Kentucky coal miners and the impact coal energy has had on the economy of our state and the livelyhoods of the families here is not lost to me. But, I agree with the students who dissented at the board meeting. I do not think that the name of the Wildcat Lodge is something that should be subject to being sponsered or subsidized. As UK students we also have great pride in our sense of identity. I do not think these two identities should be merged. If so many are truly against the renaming of this building, then a petition should be brought forth. If a substantial percentage of the student body were to voice their objections, then surely they would be heard.

And this is for all of you who choose to be obnoxious to one another rather than listening to and discussing opposing opinions, ideas or beliefs with open minds and respect for one anothe. Our future and the future of our children depends on what we do today. So, you all should take the time to educate yourselves properly and be a positive influence on the world around us, not be obnoxious, rash and a catalyst to further chaos and damage.

Mallory, I completely agree with you. I even laughed at Nathan LeClaire’s suggestion that endometriosis is linked to coal! The description you gave of the disease is accurate and so are the causes you stated (heredity and large estrogen levels). I suppose they would like to think that coal is the downfall of our nation and every problem it has. Before long they will try to relate coal to the crime rates in the nation or some other completely ridiculous accusation.
I read the paper this morning and was completely amazed at the level of hostility toward the coal industry by Kentucky citizens! As far as people saying the board did not support the students or let their voices be heard or sold us out, that is ridiculous! I am a current student at UK and I did not feel as if they sold me out! In fact, contrary to what an online pole on the Kentucky Kernel revealed, there are more than194 students who support the change of the name to Wildcat COAL Lodge. In today’s OPINIONS section, which seems to be the only thing anti-coal supporters have to support their claims, Richard Becker stated, “the UK charter does not permit the board to name an official university building based on a corporate financial contribution.” Well the contribution Mr. Craft made was not a corporate contribution. He did not ask for the name to have Alliance, which is his coal corporation, to be in the name, simply the word COAL! Suppose he wanted to name it after his favorite Skippy (I am just fabricating that name, but I am sure anti coal supporters will understand fabrication, since they seem to be very good at it), would there have been this much controversy? NO! No one would have cared! The man donated 7 million dollars! He should be able to name it whatever he wants! That is not selling out the University; that is graciously taking a LARGE donation and being polite! Do I get angered that the University does not do everything I want? Well it would be nice, but I have enough knowledge to know that it is completely ridiculous to think that because I pay a little over $8,000/year tuition that my opinions mean everything! There are several other students who pay as much as me, and that would make their opinions as valid as mine. The logic behind this thinking is that it would be impossible for everyone’s opinion to cause change on campus, since obviously there are several different ones! After all, I thought I was paying for an education, not a opportunity to speak on the naming of buildings!
Everyone complains every year that the cost of tuition is increasing, including me! However, if we have an opportunity for an outside citizen to donate 7 MILLION ($7,000,000) dollars, then why not take it if it can not add to the increase in our tuition. That is not selling us out! Lisa Conley (which I am assuming is Lisa C. on here since she makes the same arguments on here) says we are holding back progress for Kentucky. I could not agree with her more, but of course I think the cause for holding back the progress is different. I think clean coal technology is possible and I feel like we all should support the PROGERESSION toward this technology!

Tex: You say that you have been to Kentucky. So I am going to go with you are not a citizen of our state. You talk about California, New York and Texas embracing new energy technology. I don’t know how familiar you are with eastern Kentucky, but I am because I am a citizen of that part of the state, but we do not have a place to implement solar or wind energy like the other states mentioned. I also don’t think that “big coal” is the reason Kentucky doesn’t have “talented young professionals” flocking to this part of the nation. In fact, I think there are plenty of young professionals already in the state! As far as you stating, “I guess in life, some folks are always willing to sell their ass for a few dollars,” is ridiculous! They aren’t selling their ass or any of ours for that matter, they took a donation! People seriously have taken this a little too far! It was a DONATION of SEVERAL MILLION DOLLARS, respect the man and let him put COAL in the title. It is not oppressing us, it is simply honoring a request! It does not hold back progress or change the nation’s opinion of Kentucky!

Amy Shelton said, “As an alumnus of the university, I choose not to support my alma mater until the Board of Trustees can make decisions that project the values of academic discourse and independence.” Well I say, big deal. You choose not to support the university, so do Louisville fans and we don’t care! I would also like to know how the word “coal” has anything to do with the values of academics and independence! That is the most ridiculous statement I have ever heard, but then again it was found in the OPINIONS section of the paper!

Natural gas is better for electricity. Let’s produce as much gas as we can, and ramp up renewables as fast as technology will allow — which is faster than what some folks with certain interests want to admit.

@Mallory Miller: You’ll find in life that it usually isn’t worth it to shill for companies who don’t care about you. A safe mine, as you say, may be a productive mine, but you’ll find that an unsafe mine is okay too, in the eyes of Big Coal, so long as it’s making money for them.

You may be federally regulated, but as recent disasters have proven, being federal regulated and actually following those regulations isn’t quite the same thing, is it?

@Chris: Coal has done a lot for Kentucky, hasn’t it? The coal industry is why Kentucky is a national leader in education, health care, per capita income and life expectancy. Oh … wait …

Next time you visit your friends who go to law school @ UK, give them the option of taking the NY, DC or CA bar, with the offer of a job in NYC, San Fran or DC if they pass. Then offer them a job in Louisville if they pass the KY bar. Since the coal industry has made Kentucky an unbeatable option because of everything Big Coal has done for the state, I’m guessing the choice will be a no-brainer for most upwardly mobile young professionals.

I’m not denigrating Kentucky per se … I am saying, let’s not pretend that Big Coal has made Kentucky so great, compared to other places. Big Coal has set you back — and you have to either be jaded, naive, or getting a paycheck from the industry to not see that. California, for instance, is having a lot of problems, but it’s still a place where most talented young professionals want to be. Ditto New York. Ditto Texas. Incidently, these tend to be states that embrace new energy technologies, among other things. Yeah, Texas is the center of old energy in America, but it also leads the country, by a 3-1 margin over the 2nd place state, in installed wind energy capacity. When Texas is more progressive than you, you are truly backwards.

I’ve been to Kentucky. Parts of the state are very beautiful, especially the horse farms around Lexington. It’s too bad that your Board of Trustees are in the pocket of the industry. I guess in life, some folks are always willing to sell their ass for a few dollars.

Just to offset a few things I read in the paper today:

-Nathan LeClaire

Endometriosis is a medical condition found in women where endometrial cells appear outside the uterus and cause serious pain. This is also linked with infertility. I have never seen any evidence that there is a correlation between working in or being around a coal mine and this disease. The primary causes are hereditary and large supplements of estrogen.

Also, I would like to ask Amy Thompson who told her that the Engineering Department was not a part of UK? I was unaware if this is the case. Both the mining building and the engineering complex are located on campus and I, along with every other engineering student here, pay tuition to attend the university.

-Jo Pulcini

I appreciate your impartial approach on the matter and would like to answer #3 directed towards coal supporters:

Coal mining does largely support engineering and research, not just athletics. We have recently received large donations for the renovation of our analytical lab and our design lab from Alliance Coal ( company for which Joe Craft is CEO and president) and Massey Energy. My scholarship is funded through coal companies and private donors with interests in coal.

Now back to web comments:

-Ezra Jack

Where would you like to put wind turbines in Eastern Kentucky?

-Layla Musselman and many others who believe that there are no students or representatives of the school who support coal and that the decision made is not representative of students’ interests:

A pole was shown in the Kernel today, the voters of which I am assuming are mostly students, where 41% were in favor of the decision. While this may not be the majority, it certainly is a substantial number of people from this university for people to be making the comment that the board acted with complete disregard of what the students want.

Why don’t you live in comfort, pay your money to the coal companies (which in the end would be cheaper than what you purpose) that way both can be happy?!?!? Your post makes no sense what so ever!!!!!

One argument used by the pro-MTR coal side concerns how those arguing against MTR are often simultaneously utilizing coal in the process of our protest. This computer I’m using tonight, for example, is using electricity no doubt generated by valley fill harvested coal, trucked to a coal-fired plant, and wired to my house in some magical way that keeps my lights on, my fridge running, the washing machine spinning, and this computer computing. We acknowledge this parasitical relationship begrudgingly, resenting our seeming need for at least some electricity and big coal’s need for customers with no other choice. We fire back by demanding state legislators swear off MTR coal (as some are doing), for research and the implementation of renewable forms, and swear we’ll decrease our personal energy consumption until this happens. Trying to find a tangible way to make a direct impact on this macro-scaled relationship can leave us feeling a bit helpless. We need something real to do in order to feel more in control of our lives and our choices. Something that combined with others brings the monster down.

We depend on those smarter than ourselves to come up with figures that inform us that around 50% of the nation’s energy is generated from coal. That’s all forms of coal mining. While many protesting coal-related issues have opinions ranging from the total elimination of coal usage to the targeting of differing forms of destructive surface mining, many of us are concentrating the majority of our outrage against the MTR method and big coal’s direct and indirect oppression of mountain communities and culture. Figures also tell us that somewhere between six and seven percent of the nation’s coal energy originates from MTR. This is what I want to talk about here.

If, in fact, I am a part of the problem by having that connection to MTR coal, I must do something about it that eliminates my link. A constant effort at looking more deeply into the products I buy and use gets me straight to the heart of the relationship. Not doing this puts money in the opposition’s pocket, funds their lobbyists and attorneys, encourages them to keeping smiling behind my back, even if I’m at a protest screaming how much I can’t stand them.

This is what I say to them in hopes of helping wipe that smile of their face:

Dear Big Coal,

I’m a Kentuckian living in the middle of coal country, but I condemn your destructive, short-sighted practice of valley fill mining. You know this. You see our various forms of protest against it weekly in the news and try turning a blind eye to what you know will ultimately force you to halt this practice. Ironically, I’m also personally dependent on a certain amount of this coal to live in today’s world for I haven’t the means now to self-provide my power. This angers me since it puts you at a perceived advantage. As a Kentuckian, as a citizen of the United States, somewhere between six and seven percent of the coal energy I consume is from mountaintop removal coal. It’s probably much more than that.

So until you are forced at the state and federal level to do what you know you must, I must make changes to counteract your monetary and political advantage. I am further reducing my consumption of electricity by 10%, the thing you fear most. This will lessen my addiction to the supply flow you control. This will be a difficult undertaking, requiring the sacrifice of additional comforts. I will better understand products and services and companies that also use your coal and decrease my need upon them as well.

Though I am only one person, the two others I convince to do the same strengthen that effect. The others they influence, and so on, increase that rippling sentiment, and when it reaches you it will indeed effect your situation. Imagine a complete 10% or more decrease in our need of your product. Everyone in your supply line will feel it. They will be discomforted. Expect their increasing pressure on you, added to increased state and federal scrutiny that will regulate you out of business. It will not be a comfortable position to find yourself. And no increased production will outrun that inevitability.

You will say that with less consumption there is the risk of price inflation. Perhaps that’s true. It might trickle around like that but I’m pretty sure you do what you want. Most of us are not economists. We’re enlightened consumers in a world quickly destroying itself who realize that personal sacrifice must be made to counter-balance your stranglehold on commonsense.

You know all the efforts I can make that decrease my consumption already, don’t you? I’ll add this decrease to what I’m already conserving. And when I get accustomed to that I’ll decrease further, rendering you and your system as helpless as I used to feel.


Please do not associate the naming of the Wildcat Lodge the same as naming my house, that is a ridiculous! It also shames me to think that you are from Harlan County and do not understand the importance of coal and what it has done for your family.

I find it very telling that the 3 people that opposed this obscene proposal were the three people that actually REPRESENT the school – the faculty representative, the student representative and the staff representative. Stand up for what you believe Wildcats and don’t let outside interests take over our school. PROTEST and prove that UK cannot be bought.

Let’s completely cut out coal production in Kentucky. Then let us rely on wind mills and solar energy. Let’s see how far that gets us, Kentucky…. Remind you that “the wind velocity is not high enough in Kentucky to sustain wind mills, and the sun does not shine enough to produce adequate energy.” -Nate Waters
It seems that the environmentalists are going to have to learn the hard way. You think unemployment is bad now… Just wait till there is no more coal.

She didn’t get your IP address Nate! She is obviously been misinformed about your IP address the same way she was about coal! Or perhaps even better, she has made her information about both up completely! She has no facts so she is trying to fabricate things to make herself look like she knows what she is talking about, and we aren’t falling for it. Everything that you have stated is FACT and she has nothing to come back with of actual significance, so she is just grasping for straws now! Like I said, I take complete owner ship for everything UK Student posted! However, I don’t understand how I could be any of those other names listed since I did not make the post, but amazingly it was the same person with the same IP address. That is a LIE no matter how you look at it. I don’t call people a liar lightly, since I don’t like it if someone falsely accuses me of lying, but when the shoe fits!

Ezra Jack: First of all, you resorting to calling everyone on here who supported coal mining with facts a liar, is ridiculous. Not to mention childish! I also live in Southeastern Kentucky, in Knott County to be specific. If it was not for coal mining, we would have NOTHING! There would be no jobs due to the direct and indirect impact that coal mining has on the supply. There only tourism we have is the Sportsplex and ATV center, both built on reclaimed strip mines! So don’t you dare tell me I am lying! I am a UK Student in the College of Nursing, and when I graduate I will return to the area to work. More than likely I will be at Hazard ARH, which was built on top of a strip mine! My family works damn hard in the coal mines so hypocrites like you can reap the benefits of electricity, and quite frankly it pisses me off! Instead of bashing an industry that is the only lifeline of a poverty stricken area, maybe you should show a little gratitude. Clay County may have a little more to rely on than coal mines, I don’t know! However, I do know that Knott, Breathitt and Perry counties stay alive because of the mines! Clean coal technology is progressing, and would at a much faster rate if people would support their efforts instead of criticizing every move they make. As for coal run off causing cancer, I have never heard of it. I am a nursing major and I have heard a lot of carcinogens, but never once was coal named. The men who work in the deep mines work hard and deserve respect. You said, “Don’t try to tell me that coal has EVER done anything but destroy the mountains and people of Appalachia, because I live in it, I can see your LIES!” Well I will be the first to tell you that you are WRONG! The mountains of EKY are still standing, it isn’t like each and every one of them have been mined. The ones that are belong to land owners that have given their permission for it to happen, so therefore, it is none of our business what someone decides to do with their own property, no matter how you dislike it! As far as people of Appalachia, well I am one and have been one my entire life, and coal has never harmed me! In fact, it has supplied me indirectly with a job, it has supplied my family directly with a job, and it has helped the area that I love progress! That is not a lie, that is fact! Myself, I think this is a “put up or shut up” kind of ordeal. People get angry when you tell them to stop using their electricity, but it’s a reasonable request for those that are so opposed to the method that provides them with electricity!

By the way ALICE: I know you are LYING as your anti coal supporter said, because I was UK Student! I have posted under that name and that is the only name I posted under beside my actual name (CHASITY GIBSON), so you are a little misinformed! I make no threats to anyone, but if I were going to, I assure you my full name would be beside it! I don’t really think what they were saying is a threat so much as opinions and facts! I actually posted under than name because of everyone saying few UK students were posting, so I take complete ownership for everything I said in that! And as far as us “coal industry people” resorting to name calling, I believe that your little anti coal friend above started with some name calling! Please don’t “dignify” any more responses to us, mainly because everything state isn’t fact, and we really don’t want to hear it!

Wow – you coal industry people resort to name-calling pretty much immediately, huh?

I tell you about real world problems that my family faces in Eastern KY and your only response is to call me “stupid,” with a “head full of mush.”

The names of the poisons in my family’s drinking water? I don’t know them all – I don’t have the full water test in front of me. But arsenic and selenium are two of them.

Why do you keep telling me that I don’t know anything about the coalfields? Again – I’m *from* rural Harlan county and my family lives there today. I have family that work in mining industry.

Of course, once I tell you that, you immediately resort to threats, hiding behind fake names and anonymity.

“Jeff,” “UK dad,’ “Educated,” “UK Student,” “miner,” “Burn Coal !!!”, “Demopa5,” “Alice in Wonderland,” and “UK#1″ are all the same person with the same IP address, logging in from the same computer, and with the same vocabulary and arguments.

I’m not going to dignify you with any more responses.

Hey Ezra Jack, please tell us the poison that is in the streams. Please name! No one else in the KFTC (goofy bunch) can name it either! The orange you see is naturally occuring iron oxide that comes out of the earth. I guess KFTC had better have a talk with ole mother nature about that!

Clay county only produced 200,000 tons in 2006… Perry county and others produce over 10 million tons annually… It is hard to compare the two. You might as well say that Clay county does not produce coal. That is why it is a poor county.

Ezra Jack,

I was born it coal country. I grew up in coal country. I now work in coal country. Show the facts and do not just recite what the Kentuckians for the commonwealth website tells. I can take you to streams in McCreary County where the coal outcrops and it runs “rusty orange.” In this area, there has never been any mining in the specific area. It is naturally occuring.

You show me good hard facts that coal mining will cause cancer and I will listen. In the mean time, do not call me a liar. You show no facts in your argument. You just emotionally recite what the KFTC and Sierra Club say.

To Nate Waters,

Clay County has always been one of the poorest counties in the state and in the nation. It’s always had coal. It has never had an alternative. I fail to see your logic that coal somehow provides an economy that can’t be provided elsewhere. If coal left, counties wouldn’t collapse…they are already at ground zero

To- Burn Coal!!!

Your comments like the one to “Alice” don’t scare me, and it shouldn’t scare anyone against the radical and destructive practices of the coal industry. I’m Eastern KY born and bred. I completely and utterly disagree with you. Does that make me an outsider too?

The people that say that there is no proof of coal runoff causing cancer, the people that say it generates a good economy, the people that say that “reclaimed” strip mines and moutaintop removal sites are useful and valuable…you are all liars. You are LYING! If you think that you can recite that recycled pablum of deceit and exploitation and have everyone just accept it because you cite government regulations you are stupid. I was raised in Leslie county. I live in Clay county. Don’t you dare tell me that my streams aren’t rusty orange and poisoned. They are! I live there. You can call Hitler “Santa Claus” but that doesn’t make him a nice guy. Don’t try to tell me that coal has EVER done anything but destroy the mountains and people of Appalachia, because I live in it, I can see your LIES!

Jack, how do you know? Give some supporting details. There would be more clean coal if people like you would get out of its way and let the research happen to produce it even cleaner than what it is now. Stupid people!

I am a proud student of the University of Kentucky. I am no expert on the coal industry or stats about pollution, I do however fully agree with the decision to rebuild and rename wildcat lodge. The current building was built in the late 1970’s and could honestly use some renovation. This could be paid for by increasing tuition, or charging more to go to a UK ball game, but I like the idea of a 7 Million dollar (that’s Million with an M) donation from our friends of the coal industry. People like to bring up a debate about coal during all of this when honestly, whether or not 7 Million donated dollars is used or not used, coal use in KY is going to keep on going. It would have been very arrogant to refuse the donation because of the word ‘coal’ in title of the building… As I heard someone else say, I would change my first name to Coal for 7 Million dollars!

Alice, I must ask you to respond with the name of the poison being introduced into streams. Bet you can’t name it because it doesn’t exist! It doesn’t matter if someone that post here is a student or not. I pay the tuition for my child to go there and I also pay Ky. state taxes for that place. I am proud of the fact that they named it that way! YES!
Laws have changed in case you haven’t noticed it, but that red water don’t come from newer mines. Abandoned mines only has this. There has been many instances where coal companies have gone back to mine an old abondened mine to get some of the remaining coal and took care of the red water through modern reclaimation practices. Did you know this happens quite often? I bet if your family had land with coal on it and a coal company wanting to mine it, they would be all over it, wanting every cent they could get from it and have the land put back to a form that they can use later instead of hills with no use other than to look at it.

Hey blue canary, how do you know your electricity is coming from hydro? That is so funny! Just goes to show that you are not as smart as you think you are. You just got scammed by Ky. Utilities! Joke’s on you my friend!

Coal is going to be used for energy for a long while! Even if they try to eradicate coal mining, they have to have time to switch to some other form of energy, so in the meantime COAL is going to be the source for most people across the nation! So get over it! The dorm for the basketball players is going to be called The Wildcat COAL Lodge! Mr. Craft donated $7 million dollars!!! It is his money and he can choose to do with it as he pleases! So get over it. It isn’t like when the wildcats take the floor everyone will be chanting C-O-A-L ,COAL, COAL, COAL! However, if they do, I will be right there with them screaming it out proudly! Get mad, throw fits, state little facts from I love mountains or wherever youget your information, it still doesn’t change the fact that we rely on coal right now! If it were called the green thumb Wildcat Lodge, it would have been fine. However, since it is something that the tree huggers don’t like, they feel the need to whine like 5 year olds. Seriously, is the temper tantrum necessary? I suggest you fine a green thumb member that can donate $8 million if you want to have the name changed on any other building, but in the mean time, I suggest growing up! Protest all you want, there will be supports of coal right there along side of you just to even out the protest! I am a student at UK and not part of the Mining Engineering Program, and I still have enough COMMON SENSE to know that I rely on coal for energy. I also know that if we switch to another form of energy, the cost of our electric bills will rise. As a resident of Eastern Kentucky, I am proud to say I know many coal miners and it truly bothers me that they work so hard to supply energy to people that are so ungrateful! It also bothers me that MOST of these posts are from people who are not residents of Eastern Kentucky! That means they are speaking about something they have only read about or been influenced by the media! MOST of the ones on here supporting COAL are from Eastern Kentucky, that means we have lived there and know firsthand what coal does for everyone there, and we are grateful! So keep on whining by turning on your computers posting on this site, you are still using coal fired energy! Someone in the article said Mr. Todd was “talking the talk but not walking the walk” or some form of the phrase, well, most of you are doing the same thing. Right now we rely on coal for energy! Don’t like it? Well don’t use it!

Aaron — it’s my understanding that according to the NCAA, UK shouldn’t be giving basketball players (or other athletes) special treatment (such as a dorm specifically for them). UK gets around this by filling up the Lodge with non-athletes in the summer sessions. Somehow this magically balances everything out even though the summer session is only 3 months long.

Just so yall know, Kentucky Utilities allows you to purchase green energy – my utility bill is only about $5-$7 more a month (and I live in a drafty old apartment), and I get my electricity from the Mother Ann Hydro Plant. (Okay, yeah I know that it all goes into the same grid, but I’m at least cutting the amount of coal power going to the grid.) http://www.eon-us.com/green/default.asp

Just something consider if you want to put your money where your mouth is. Plus it makes it even easier to roll your eyes at the specious “We’ll all freeze in the dark!11!1!” comments.

I think it’s asinine that the administration keep calling it a “residence hall” when we all know it’s just an exclusive clubhouse for a few pampered jocks that’s going to eat up even more parking lot space and make life more difficult for the UK employees who actually bring meaningful skills to the university.

Alice is an idiot.

I would bet you anything she has never even been to Eastern Kentucky. Sounds more like a big city kind of girl who picked up some lame stats from Al Gore.

Burn Coal Alice !!!


You know what happens when the coal industry leaves. McCreary County is one of the poorest counties in the state. This is not the coal industry’s fault. But it is evident that you can not just pull an industry like coal out of a region and expect everything to be “ok.” No one is saying coal will be around forever. However, it must bridge the gap until we find other alternatives.

I do not understand where you are getting your facts linking cancer to coal mining… Coal mining creates irreparable environmental damage? Go look at restored mine sites in Leslie, Perry, Breathitt, Knott and other Eastern Kentucky counties. Elk are thriving and people are using the land. McCreary County has many wide ridges and wide valleys that allow farms and places to build houses. These counties do not have that luxury with out surface mining.

Coal mining has changed substantially than when it was in McCreary County (Late 1800’s-1988). There is horrible acid mine drainage in the county that Stearns Coal and Lumber left however now laws have changed and does not happen anymore. Today, coal companies do not allow that type of water to discharge from the mine site. I encourage everyone who opposes surface coal mining to visit a truly reclaimed coal mine. The land is released by the companies five years after the mine production ends. This means that you should NOT observe reclamation at a mine site a month after the coal is mined like many environmental activist do.

For those of you who want to end coal mining, where are you going to get energy? Natural gas produces CO2. The wind velocity is not high enough in Kentucky to sustain wind mills. The sun does not shine on my old Kentucky home enough to produce adequate energy. And the main reason these renewable energies are not feasible; the energy can not be stored with our current grid system. There is not enough hydro to power Kentucky either. This means, No Coal=No electricity.

In closing, who cares what they call the building. This group is donating $7 million! Does no one get this? That is a heck of a lot of money that they did not have to give. After attending UK for five years, I have witnessed companies like Belcan and Toyota donate money. The new Davis Marksbury building is partially funded by $9.3 million from private donors.

This is not a big deal! As a UK alum and fan, I appreciate those who generously give to the university.

This little Alice girl is a little naive isn’t she. Young skull full of mush. I wonder if she realizes where her electricity comes from. Go ahead learn a little bit in college and then come on in to the real world. Oh yeah, there have been other students before you that have attended UK. Maybe when you’re able to donate 7M you can change the name.

I would not say I’m a hard core environmentalist- I’m no where near it. I do however, feel it’s important to try and do what little I can to try and make the world a cleaner and better place. The Trustees’ decision was incredibly reckless and opens the way for companies as big and impacting as coal companies to seem charitable by donating money and ultimately hide the damage their companies do. A seven million dollar donation will not clean up my home town and undo the extensive amount of damage done by coal production.

For those who automatically say to people opposing that if we don’t like coal, we should leave and go live somewhere else: No. Kentucky is my home. I grew up here- in McCreary County. The coal mines provided income for my grandparents just the same as it did many of my friends’ families for the past century. This state is where I grew up, and where I would like to start my family. With that in mind, I think it’s reprehensible that a state-run UK has decided to allow coal companies to advertise at the highest level in Kentucky: UK Basketball. I am glad UK has such generous donors. However, that donation does not, nor will it ever undo the ecological harm and deaths linked to coal production and energy production. It is scientifically proven that the use of coal is responsible for global warming, which kills millions worldwide each year. Does that make it OK because these deaths are in a rural Indian fishing village being inundated by rain and flooded more each year? Will it erase the fact that every time it rains hard the water in creeks and streams around my home turn from a beautiful blue, to a crimson red or rust color as pollutants pour from the long-abandoned mines? Does it erase the sulfur smell that burns my nostrils and makes some peoples’ nose bleed? Not at all. Unfortunately, the overall concensus in a state like Kentucky where coal provides so many jobs, is that we’ll look away from the tragedies of coal because we need the money now. Most people believe it warrants sacrificing our future because we must live for today.

I grew up with five hungry mouths in my household in McCreary County, Kentucky. I know the difficulty it is to survive here. I’m quite thankful for the cheap utilities coal allowed my family to have- it’s difficult for many poor families to pay them. I also understand most people will do anything to provide for their children. The problem is that we don’t look down the road… That’s where the greatest problem of coal lies. The fact of the matter is, coal production in Kentucky WILL end. It may be 50 years down the road, maybe 100 years. When that coal is gone, and the money spent from producing that coal is gone we’ll only have the scars from coal. Increased cancer rates, irreparable environmental damage, and the loss of thousands of jobs will be the only mark coal will leave behind. With that said, it’s shameful and embarrasing as a citizen of Kentucky, that the board of trustees condoned Coal today by renaming the living quarters the Wildcat Coal Lodge.

What’s next for Kentucky? I am suspicious that we may next see a new Commonwealth Marlboro Stadium, or a Bourbon Tennis Facility… It is truly embarrasing that a college institution that dedicates itself entirely to the education and growth of young minds has turned its head blindly and allowed what happened today.

I tried to post this earlier, but I don’t think it got through. Let me try again.

If you’d like to come out and get involved in the campaign to raise awareness around this issue, we still have a chance to stop the naming process – and otherwise educate our campus about problems in the coal industry.

UK Kentuckians For The Commonwealth (KFTC) Meeting – Tomorrow (Wednesday) at 7:30 in the Student Center, Rm 111 or 115



Are any of the “pro coal” people on this list even UK students? Yes, I think it does matter, given that you’re on a UK student website, trying to influence a UK decision to rename a UK dorm. How would you feel if a bunch of UK students tried to rename your house?

I see that you’re also making up face screen names. I’m starting to suspect there’s only one person writing all of the “pro coal” posts.

Again – Coal is *not* the future of this nation or even this state. We’ll run out of coal in my lifetime.

I’m from Eastern KY – and still have family there, but I do go to UK right now.

One of my neighbors back home was killed by a coal tuck a few years ago and my cousin suffers from asthma because of the trucks that go by his house every day, kicking up dust in the narrow holler.

When I visit them, they warn me not to drink the water because it’s poisoned from blasting. I’ve seen in the local grocery store that there’s an entire aisle just for jugs of water.

I’ve seen houses blown off of their foundations, I’ve seen people suffering from black lung, I’ve seen roads destroyed by coal trucks, and I’ve seen mine owners, politicians, and “inspectors” alike look the other way because they’re too bought off to do anything else.

And after writing those last three paragraphs your response is that you “think I’m insane I’ve seen houses blown off their foundation”

Well, I was referring to the slow destruction of foundations due to blasting, but if you want dramatic, tell the Tussey’s they’re “insane” – http://www.kftc.org/blog/archive/2009/09/06/massive-boulder-rips-through-a-floyd-county-home/?searchterm=foundation

It also sounds to me like you’re not at all shocked at the poisoned water, black lung, deaths from illegally overweight coal trucks and so-on.

Again – Coal isn’t our future – but we’ll destroy all of the land and people it takes to get that last seam of coal in my home county and realize at the end of it that we’ve left only a desolate wasteland with no hope of a long-term, sustainable future… unless we lift ourselves up now and challenge ourselves to go in another direction instead.

Thank god that most of my fellow-students see it that way too.

I have 20 bucks to throw down for renaming the Mining and Mineral Resources Building, “The Center for Environmental Degradation Parties.” After-all, it’s the donors say on naming facilities or at least that’s what you all are saying.


Does it matter if we are not UK students? Are they the only ones that matter and that care about UK basketball? Don’t think soooo… They make up a very very small percentange of Kentucky’s population. Remember what Coach Cal said “THIS IS THE COMMONWEALTH’S TEAM”!! When you turn the lights off for bed tonight and get into that nice warm bed from the heat that is coming through the vents, remember to THANK A MINER………..

Lisa –

I am unsure of exactly how you think people who opposed slavery compare to those who have supported coal. In the above comment section, I do not see any coal supporter saying that they do not believe we need to generate new technology for alternative energy. I do not see anyone saying that there shouldn’t be efforts to make coal cleaner so its use will be more environmentally friendly. Instead I see people giving very relevant facts about coal and its current use.

For example, there are countless regulations put in place to keep mine employees safe and monitor the reclamation efforts made during and after the life of a mine site. Throughout history this has not been the case, however in the present there are inspectors who visit mines multiple times a week just to ensure that everything that occurs is compatible with the regulations. If you (or anyone else) would like to actually check this out, then feel free to visit http://www.msha.gov/ and look at all of the regulations in place. There is even a place where employees can anonymously submit concerns if an employee feels at risk or feels as though something is wrong.

Also, if you look at my first post, you will find a link to a project named FutureGen, which uses processes called carbon capture and gasification to eliminate harmful emissions and still produce energy using coal. This is an ongoing process within the coal industry, one that rarely gets acknowledged. http://report.vattenfall.com/annualreport2008/Menu/CCS and http://www.futuregenalliance.org/ are a couple of links that could be checked out on this subject. This technology is by no means perfect, but it shows that there are processes capable of producing energy from coal with less emissions.

Finally, it has been said here, as well as in countless studies, that alternative energy sources such as solar and wind power are not yet feasible replacements based on our energy needs. It is still very necessary to work towards developing these energy sources, as the energy demand continues to rise we will need these technologies, coupled with clean coal technology, to provide the power needed.

These are the types of arguments I have seen from the coal supporters side, which do not follow along the lines of “such and such is like this terrible thing” with no supporting facts associated. Just because a good deal of the population disagrees with something you side with does not make it relate to the oppression of millions of human beings.

By the way, I am a student at UK and I support the use of coal.

Maybe we can talk Joe Craft into letting us give John Wall and DeMarcus Cousins half a mil each on the stipulation they stay around another year… I think that’s something we could all agree on.

-Lisa C.

“The largest source of CO2 emissions globally is the combustion of fossil fuels such as coal, oil and gas in power plants, automobiles, industrial facilities and other sources.”

What did you say earlier? Don’t misquote you? Well, don’t misquote me. I did not say that the coal industry was not a part of manmade CO2 emissions. Notice how the above statement does not clarify whether it is referring to natural or manmade CO2? Yes, out of the less than 1% that we do produce, coal is a part of that. Are you going to go after oil, gas, automobiles and other industries as well? Or would that only happen if they wanted to go with the name, “Wildcat Oil Gas Autmobile Lodge”? I also did not say you supported the Waxman-Markey bill, again misquoting others. I felt it was relevant to my arguement.

-blue canary

As I mentioned above, once again, renewables are good and necessary but they are not economically feasible at this time. I believe that we, as a state, won’t be in as much debt, if we take this one step at a time and build up to a future where all energy sources are used and efficient. If those other states want to jump into something that we don’t have the technology to sustain, let them. I think we all know how our economy is doing right now.