Here's Darryl Hannah's explanation of why she cares about West Virginia coal mining, even though she doesn't live there. I blogged about the protest and arrests there in June. Of course, the coal industry itself claims all of the cancer and pollution complaints are not to be taken seriously. Here's a whole list of the great things that have been built atop reclaimed coal mine sites. No word on allthe good stuff that washed down strewam, or ended up in residents' lungs.
One focus of the current anti-coal protests: mountain top removal to get at the coal beneath. This is one reason greentech proponents are often optimistic they can compete with coal and other fossil fuels if the overall true costs of the extraction are ever actually taken into account, politically or otherwise.