Last weekend marked the fifth anniversary of the Upper Big Branch mine disaster in West Virginia—the nation’s worst coal mine disaster in decades. Massey Energy, one of the largest American coal companies, ran the mine, and its CEO Don Blankenship has since been indicted on charges that he deliberately concealed health and safety violations at the mining site. A new documentary explores the stories of the people living near the disaster site whose lives, economy and personal struggles are all deeply intertwined with the coal industry.
Overburden reveals the tension between pro-coal activists and environmentalists, and complicates the narrative that many outside of coal country understand about mountaintop removal. Host Frank Stasio talks to filmmaker Chad Stevens and Lorelei Scarbro, one of the central characters in the film. Overburden premieres at the Full Frame Documentary Film Festival this Friday, April 10.
Watch a trailer for the film here: