John Gaventa clarifies the interplay between surface land ownership and the exploitative acquisition of below-ground mineral rights by large coal companies in Appalachia. He cites The American Association, a British company that at one time owned 80,000 acres across Clairborne, Bell, Campbell, and Whitley Counties in East Tennessee, as a prime example of absentee corporate power and corruption in the region. Gaventa closes with an explanation of other repercussions related to coal industry tax inequities, including the introduction of strip mining and its severe affront to the local environment. Follow this link for access to the full-length interview.
Recorded October 2021.