Charleston, W.Va. (AP) -- The West Virginia Council of Churches is calling for peaceful dialogue on mountaintop removal mining.
The Rev. Dennis Sparks urged civic leaders, politicians, coal industry officials and environmental groups to stop using inflammatory rhetoric and inciting confrontation.
The plea from the council's executive director comes as angry coal miners are refusing to vacation in Tennessee because they say one of that state's political leaders wants to ban mountaintop removal.
It also follows a series of environmental protests targeting Massey Energy operations in southern West Virginia.
Sparks said he understands that people on both sides feel threatened and fearful.
But, he says, leaders should encourage an attitude of understanding and civility.
(Copyright 2009 by the Associated Press. All rights reserved.)
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