WJU professor interviewed in Smithsonian Magazine

WHEELING – Wheeling Jesuit University biology professor Ben Stout has spent the past decade studying the effects of mining on ecosystems and communities. He has also spent the last 17 years teaching biology at Appalachia’s only Jesuit college, combining teaching, research and his environmental interests.

Most recently, he was also on a panel for the Society of Environmental Journalists in fall of 2008 and held in Roanoke, Va.

About 10 years ago (March 1999), Stout testified in federal court on behalf of citizens in Southern West Virginia and he has long been an advocate for the those living in the mining area.

He also was in a movie, “Burning the Future, Coal in America.” This film came out last year and brought him more attention. It examines the explosive conflict between the coal industry and residents of West Virginia. The award winning film was produced and directed by New York City director David Novack.

Now Stout’s been interviewed in Smithsonian Magazine’s January 2009 issue in a 12-page article that examines the current practice of mountain top mining.

The article looks at the issues of mountain top mining and interviews West Virginia residents as well as experts: “Explosives and giant machines are destroying Appalachian peaks to obtain coal. In a tiny West Virginia town, residents and the industry fight over a mountain’s fate,” is the introduction.

Written by Silver Spring, Md. writer John McQuaid, read the full article online at Smithsonian.