Ashley Judd's Comments Upset Eastern Kentucky Coal Supporters

"I am very proud to be a Kentuckian," said Judd, "and, of the many things my Creator has seen fit to allow me to accomplish, being an eastern Kentuckian, is the simple fact that brings me the most honor, the greatest sense of self, I love and am proud of being a hillbilly."

Ashley Judd tells the White House Press Club mountaintop removal is destroying the Appalachian mountains she loves. "And it gets bigger with every Appalachian mountaintop that is blown up, every holler that is filled, every stream that is buried, every wild thing that is wantonly and recklessly killed, every ecosystem that is diminished, every job that is lost to mechanization, every family that is pitted one against the other by the state-sanctioned, federal government-supported coal industry-operated rape of Appalachia: mountaintop removal coal mining."

"Ashley Judd is an egotistical brat from California," said Wayne T. Rutherford, Pike County Judge-Executive, "who doesn't understand the culture, the heritage of what she calls hillbillies, and we're proud to be hillbillies."

Judd calls mountaintop removal environmental genocide, and accuses coal companies of spreading "propaganda" to show reclaimed mine sites are good for the area, and mentions development on some sites like the Federal Penitentiary in Martin County and the Stonecrest Golf Course in Floyd County.

"On another site they built a golf course," said Judd. "I'm not too keen on reinforcing stereotypes about my people, but I don't know a lot of hillbillies who golf."

"I'm a hillbilly, and I love to play golf," said Senator Johnny Ray Turner of Floyd County.

Stonecrest officials say 26,000 rounds of golf were played there last year, and they bring in $1-million of revenue per year.

"I think the statements she made are off base," said Turner, "and I'm not trying to bash her, but I think mountaintop removal has been good for eastern Kentucky and the economy in eastern Kentucky."

Said Rutherford, "She doesn't realized it when she gets up with the lights, the lights she uses to put on her make-up, the lights come from coal."

Senator Johnny Ray Turner and Prestonsburg tourism officials are inviting Judd to play a round of golf at Stonecrest, and tour the area to discuss her concerns.

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