“Green Rolling Hills”
Wild Earth Journal, Fall 1995
by Jason Halbert
GREEN ROLLING HILLS documents the causal history and potential impacts of the proposed largest pulp mill in North America, slated for the tiny Ohio River town of Apple Grove, West Virginia. Addressing issues from the disempowered, depressed communities of Mason County and throughout Appalachia to the global deforestation crisis, this is a video account of collusion between government officials and the multinational corporation Parsons and Whittemore. (West Virginia Governor Gaston Caperton has secured a $200,000,000 tax break for Parsons and Whittemore.)
Beyond the threats to public goods like water, air, and National Forests would be the virtually unregulated clearcutting of private lands, if the pulp mill is built. The forest of southeast Ohio and West Virginia have returned from devastation wrought at the turn of the century. Despite formation of three National Forests in the region, most of the area is privately held and the incentive to log again is greatly increased by the proposed mill (estimated output of 3600 metric tons bleached pulp per day). Mark Rey, former VP of the American Forest and Paper Association states, “because the forests are more privately owned the amount of conflict over their management seems to be substantially less.”
Janet Fout of the Ohio Valley Environmental Coalition laments, “the out of state speculators promise jobs and prosperity…it’s a boom and bust kind of thing, and after the resources are gone so are the companies. They leave us with the mess to clean up.”
Hawes-Davis and Gravley were able to travel and film a tremendous amount on a tiny budget. Everyone should see Green Rolling Hills; it is a testament to a country lost and confused, a culture thoughtlessly struggling to perpetuate an industry built on exploitation of people and forests.