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Interview with Bob Edney

BROADCAST: 1970 | DURATION: 01:00:54

Synopsis

Interviewing Bob Edney, a strip-miner, while Studs was in Newburgh, Indiana.

Transcript

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Studs Terkel We're in a -- somewhere in Boonville, Ohio -- Ohio? Boonville, Indiana. It's on the southwest border of, of Indiana close to the Kentucky border. It's here we're told Lincoln learned the law. And here too where strip-mining is occurring, a relatively new occupation. Talking to Bob Edney, who I take it is a, an expert strip-miner -- if I were to ask you, Mr. Edney, what the work is, how would you describe the work? What is a strip mine? If I ask what it means, I know nothing about it. What is a strip mine in contrast say to a deep mining?

Bob Edney Well, I wouldn't be able to answer that. I mean, there's really no difference. I mean, it's just a different way of getting the coal out, it all eventually comes out the same way.

Studs Terkel I mean, you don't go deep into the ground.

Bob Edney That's true.

Studs Terkel No. What do you, what do you do? I mean just -- could you describe your day as it begins? What time in the morning or whatever is.

Bob Edney You mean a normal

Studs Terkel A normal day, a normal work day.

Bob Edney Eight 'til four.

Studs Terkel Eight to four. You leave the house, where do you go?

Bob Edney Drive about 25 miles. Then go to the pit.

Studs Terkel And then, then what do you do? See, I know what a deep miner does, he goes down in the shaft, he goes down below. What do you do?

Don Tell him about that midnight shift, going to the, going to shovel. License plates and all that.

Bob Edney Well, it's -- I don't hardly know how to tell you. I mean, it's this thing that you get up and go to work, just like everybody else, I guess.

Studs Terkel Well, you just do what you always -- suppose I were a little kid. And that's why in a sense I don't think about it, and you're describing to a small boy just what it is you do, step by step. Do you -- what sort of machine do you use? [Go into?] how it

Bob Edney works. Well, I don't like to think I'm a -- you know, I don't like to think I'm a tool that sense. I mean, I go to work just like anybody else goes to the office or wherever they go. I mean

Studs Terkel Well, I know it's skilled work. I know that.

Bob Edney No, no, I wouldn't say it was skill. It's -- well, I don't know want any particular way to tell you. I mean, it's just something that -- get up, I go to work

Studs Terkel Well, do you use a steam shovel or what?

Bob Edney No, we're on electric power machines.

Studs Terkel Electric power machine is what? I mean, do you, do you -- how deep into the earth do you -- how, how does it dig out the coal? Because this is new to many, this is new to millions of people in the city.

Bob Edney Well, I realize this. We don't dig the coal, what I particularly do, we take the overburden. I mean, we take the dirt off the coal. Or I do, this one phase of it, but it varies maybe from fifteen to a hundred feet. Ninety-five is probably as deep as we're going right now.

Studs Terkel No further than that. About ninety-five hundred feet deep is about

Bob Edney No, ninety-five feet.

Studs Terkel Ninety five.

Bob Edney Right.

Studs Terkel So that's close to the surface then.

Bob Edney Right.

Studs Terkel Well, what's the difference, what's the benefit, say of strip mining contrast to deep mining?

Bob Edney Well, you talking from the consumer standpoint or from the miner standpoint or from the operator standpoint?

Studs Terkel One at a time. Say first the miners standpoint.

Bob Edney Well, I'd say it's probably is less dangerous. From the miner's standpoint. From the operator standpoint it's probably more profitable. And from the consumer standpoint, they have to benefit by the profits from the company gets, so I mean if you buy electricity, you gonna pay just what the coal's gonna cost. The power plants, and the cheaper they produce the coal, the cheaper the electricity's gonna be, and that's about what it amounts to.

Studs Terkel Is it cheaper for the consumer then as a result of strip mining?

Bob Edney Well, sure. Has to be.

Studs Terkel You say it's not less dangerous. Are there any dangers? Do you have any dangers at all? To strip mining? For a miner?

Bob Edney Oh, well, there's all -- I guess there's danger if you go out there on the highway. Yeah, there's dangers to it. If you get 125 feet in the air, I mean you might slip and fall or if they set off an explosive charge that kicks out or something, you can get hurt, I mean, but I mean the facts are there. It's proven that it is. I mean it is and is dangerous in underground, I'm talking about underground mining in comparison.

Studs Terkel You're about 125 feet in the air, you say.

Bob Edney Well, you could be at times, a lot of times you are.

Studs Terkel This is like, sort of like a steam shovel then, is that the idea? You sort of like a crane you work, or?

Bob Edney Yeah.

Studs Terkel Well, do you have a helper? Do you work -- how does it work? Does a strip miner work by himself, or do you have a guy working with you?

Bob Edney Well, on my particular job, I have two people working for me. I mean, this is just one phase of the operation. I have an oiler working for me, and I have a man down on the ground. But, like shooting crews and things like that, they have their own personnel and mechanical-wise.

Studs Terkel Do you work for a company? Or are you a freelance man?

Bob Edney No, I work for a company.

Studs Terkel And they employ many?

Bob Edney Yeah, well in our particular mine we have about a hundred men. I'd say the average strip mine today, it produces five, six thousand ton of coal and run around 100 people.

Studs Terkel It does that. Five, six hundred thousand

Bob Edney Five, six thousand ton a day.

Studs Terkel Five, six thousand ton a day.

Bob Edney I mean, this would make -- most contracts now are a million ton a year.

Studs Terkel How much of an area would that take up?

Bob Edney Well, it depend on the -- you mean how much coal in a day you would take out of a piece of ground?

Studs Terkel Yeah, and then how much of an area too?

Unidentified Woman Acreage.

Studs Terkel What's that? Acreage.

Unidentified Woman Acreage.

Bob Edney Acreage, well, that depend on the thickness of the coal. I mean if you have

Unidentified Woman [Whispers in

Studs Terkel background]. [What, what ma'am?]? You can help, it's okay.

Unidentified Woman Yeah, it would depend on the thickness of the coal. You

Don could [Unintelligible].

Bob Edney Well like, in our core, that's some four, seven foot thick up there. Four and seven foot coal, fifteen hundred ton a foot, forty -- it probably -- well, four foot of coal'd be easier. Six thousand tons to the acre. We'll mine a four-foot coal, we'll mine a acre a day.

Studs Terkel Acre a day.

Bob Edney Four-foot coal.

Studs Terkel So is that usually the kind of coal, a four-foot coal that you mine?

Bob Edney Well, it depends on what vein you're in again. I mean, now we're mine number five vein up here, which is -- there's not too many variables in it, I mean four-seven, but I mean like over here say six, seven miles we're getting ready to put in about three and a half million ton mine a year. Coal runs 15 foot thick. So I wouldn't say it for our mine it's average, and I'd say number five is average, but you have, you have bastard veins, what we call bastard veins. That, that -- that isn't even in, I mean, like if you go to, well let's say for example if you go in Annapolis, and want to get a run-down, geological run-down on your seams of coal. I mean, there are seams of coal around here that aren't even listed up there. So but like five and six vein of coal around there runs pretty true, and I'd say our vein up there five, runs from four to seven foot thick, and I'd say that's normal.

Studs Terkel So it's, you, about an acre a day then you mine.

Bob Edney Of four foot coal

Studs Terkel Four foot coal.

Bob Edney Right.

Studs Terkel So you work five days a week, or you work five days a week?

Bob Edney No. We produce six days and job [I'm a owner?] and seven days.

Studs Terkel So six and sometimes seven. So it could be six, seven acres a day then. Six, seven acres a week you mine. One guy.

Bob Edney No, not one guy, this takes a hundred people.

Studs Terkel I see. Now I'm getting it. Your company then, your company then would mine about six, seven acres a week.

Bob Edney At this particular mine. Right.

Studs Terkel So for fifty-two weeks a year or so, that's quite a few acres that are mined.

Bob Edney Yeah. Two-fifty, something like that.

Studs Terkel What, what was the land before that? Before it was strip-mined?

Bob Edney Well, no good to anybody. Really. Of course, the area we're mining in, there's some oil wells there, but far as the surface, you're talking about surface.

Studs Terkel Right.

Bob Edney It was run down. Growing up, which 90% of this ground even 20 years ago, 25 years ago, same way. People just quit farming. I guess went to welfare or something.

Studs Terkel Is that it? Not farmland, then.

Bob Edney No. As of now, the holdings the coal companies have, even then I'd say in Illinois, Tennessee, places I've been, now I'd say in the next ten years, you're going to see some good topsoil move, because the company's going to pay prices, they're going to get this coal, and I'd say you're going to see some better farm ground, good farm ground that'll be bought, bought up by the coal companies in the next ten years.

Studs Terkel That well, you see that happening because of the profitable aspects of strip mining.

Bob Edney Sure.

Studs Terkel Yeah.

Bob Edney No doubt about it.

Studs Terkel Now what happens when -- to that land when it's strip-mined after you're through getting out the coal?

Bob Edney Well, this is, this is a question I think that in my way of thinking it would take -- well, people's misinformed. Especially people that aren't around the mining area. Right now I think they have a state law in the state of Indiana in which I do know in Kentucky. There's three, three different grades that you are required to do. As of now, and the legislature has passed this, state of Indiana. If you go a graze land, you have to have a three percent slope. Now, the government, they're putting money in on this thing. Working with the companies on this, but this ground, 90 percent, well I'd say a hundred percent that I've seen mined, and I've been around strip mining for 20 years. The ground is much better conditioned now. There's -- I do know this, there is ground that -- [you can?] dry rot down across from rolling hills and places like that. I worked that area. It doesn't look too good right now, but that's all going to be changed, I mean, and the companies are making the [money?], that they're going to do this.

Studs Terkel How are they going to change it?

Bob Edney Well, they're going to level it. I'd take you to a place up there right now as I say where the law is, where like we're throwing banks up say 70, 80 feet high. That right now they have tractors up a running 24 hours a day and this levelling my yard. And the phosphate and the things that goes back into the topsoil was tremendous. I mean, well, it's a proven fact that the ground is in much better shape than it was before it was ever turned

Studs Terkel Oh, and you feel that strip mining is beneficial to the land.

Bob Edney Well, sure, if they'll level it. And which they're going to have to do. Sure it is.

Studs Terkel How do you feel about your work, you yourself, you, you feel your work is serving, public service? Your work. This is one of the questions I ask everybody, about the feel about their jobs.

Bob Edney Well, to a degree I think -- I mean, there's a lot of things that I don't like about it, of course, but for instance I've never really appreciated seeing the ground torn up, especially if it was ground that was, could be made into something. But like I said before, 90% of the ground I've seen torn up, I mean, I mean you'd starve to death trying to raise a roasting ear on it. You know?

Unidentified Woman

Studs Terkel

Unidentified Woman

Bob Edney

Studs Terkel

Bob Edney

Studs Terkel

Unidentified Woman We're in a -- somewhere in Boonville, Ohio -- Ohio? Boonville, Indiana. It's on the southwest border of, of Indiana close to the Kentucky border. It's here we're told Lincoln learned the law. And here too where strip-mining is occurring, a relatively new occupation. Talking to Bob Edney, who I take it is a, an expert strip-miner -- if I were to ask you, Mr. Edney, what the work is, how would you describe the work? What is a strip mine? If I ask what it means, I know nothing about it. What is a strip mine in contrast say to a deep mining? Well, I wouldn't be able to answer that. I mean, there's really no difference. I mean, it's just a different way of getting the coal out, it all eventually comes out the same way. I mean, you don't go deep into the ground. That's true. No. What do you, what do you do? I mean just -- could you describe your day as it begins? What time in the morning or whatever is. You mean a normal day? A normal day, a normal work day. Eight 'til four. Eight to four. You leave the house, where do you go? Drive about 25 miles. Then go to the pit. And then, then what do you do? See, I know what a deep miner does, he goes down in the shaft, he goes down below. What do you do? Tell him about that midnight shift, going to the, going to shovel. License plates and all that. Well, it's -- I don't hardly know how to tell you. I mean, it's this thing that you get up and go to work, just like everybody else, I guess. Well, you just do what you always -- suppose I were a little kid. And that's why in a sense I don't think about it, and you're describing to a small boy just what it is you do, step by step. Do you -- what sort of machine do you use? [Go into?] how it works. Well, I don't like to think I'm a -- you know, I don't like to think I'm a tool that sense. I mean, I go to work just like anybody else goes to the office or wherever they go. I mean -- Well, I know it's skilled work. I know that. No, no, I wouldn't say it was skill. It's -- well, I don't know want any particular way to tell you. I mean, it's just something that -- get up, I go to work -- Well, do you use a steam shovel or what? No, we're on electric power machines. Electric power machine is what? I mean, do you, do you -- how deep into the earth do you -- how, how does it dig out the coal? Because this is new to many, this is new to millions of people in the city. Well, I realize this. We don't dig the coal, what I particularly do, we take the overburden. I mean, we take the dirt off the coal. Or I do, this one phase of it, but it varies maybe from fifteen to a hundred feet. Ninety-five is probably as deep as we're going right now. No further than that. About ninety-five hundred feet deep is about -- No, ninety-five feet. Ninety five. Right. So that's close to the surface then. Right. Well, what's the difference, what's the benefit, say of strip mining contrast to deep mining? Well, you talking from the consumer standpoint or from the miner standpoint or from the operator standpoint? One at a time. Say first the miners standpoint. Well, I'd say it's probably is less dangerous. From the miner's standpoint. From the operator standpoint it's probably more profitable. And from the consumer standpoint, they have to benefit by the profits from the company gets, so I mean if you buy electricity, you gonna pay just what the coal's gonna cost. The power plants, and the cheaper they produce the coal, the cheaper the electricity's gonna be, and that's about what it amounts to. Is it cheaper for the consumer then as a result of strip mining? Well, sure. Has to be. You say it's not less dangerous. Are there any dangers? Do you have any dangers at all? To strip mining? For a miner? Oh, well, there's all -- I guess there's danger if you go out there on the highway. Yeah, there's dangers to it. If you get 125 feet in the air, I mean you might slip and fall or if they set off an explosive charge that kicks out or something, you can get hurt, I mean, but I mean the facts are there. It's proven that it is. I mean it is and is dangerous in underground, I'm talking about underground mining in comparison. You're about 125 feet in the air, you say. Well, you could be at times, a lot of times you are. This is like, sort of like a steam shovel then, is that the idea? You sort of like a crane you work, or? Yeah. Well, do you have a helper? Do you work -- how does it work? Does a strip miner work by himself, or do you have a guy working with you? Well, on my particular job, I have two people working for me. I mean, this is just one phase of the operation. I have an oiler working for me, and I have a man down on the ground. But, like shooting crews and things like that, they have their own personnel and mechanical-wise. Do you work for a company? Or are you a freelance man? No, I work for a company. And they employ many? Yeah, well in our particular mine we have about a hundred men. I'd say the average strip mine today, it produces five, six thousand ton of coal and run around 100 people. It does that. Five, six hundred thousand -- Five, six thousand ton a day. Five, six thousand ton a day. I mean, this would make -- most contracts now are a million ton a year. How much of an area would that take up? Well, it depend on the -- you mean how much coal in a day you would take out of a piece of ground? Yeah, and then how much of an area too? Acreage. What's that? Acreage. Acreage. Acreage, well, that depend on the thickness of the coal. I mean if you have -- [Whispers in background]. [What, what ma'am?]? You can help, it's okay. Yeah, it would depend on the thickness of the coal. You could [Unintelligible]. Well like, in our core, that's some four, seven foot thick up there. Four and seven foot coal, fifteen hundred ton a foot, forty -- it probably -- well, four foot of coal'd be easier. Six thousand tons to the acre. We'll mine a four-foot coal, we'll mine a acre a day. Acre a day. Four-foot coal. So is that usually the kind of coal, a four-foot coal that you mine? Well, it depends on what vein you're in again. I mean, now we're mine number five vein up here, which is -- there's not too many variables in it, I mean four-seven, but I mean like over here say six, seven miles we're getting ready to put in about three and a half million ton mine a year. Coal runs 15 foot thick. So I wouldn't say it for our mine it's average, and I'd say number five is average, but you have, you have bastard veins, what we call bastard veins. That, that -- that isn't even in, I mean, like if you go to, well let's say for example if you go in Annapolis, and want to get a run-down, geological run-down on your seams of coal. I mean, there are seams of coal around here that aren't even listed up there. So but like five and six vein of coal around there runs pretty true, and I'd say our vein up there five, runs from four to seven foot thick, and I'd say that's normal. So it's, you, about an acre a day then you mine. Of four foot coal thickness. Four foot coal. Right. So you work five days a week, or you work five days a week? No. We produce six days and job [I'm a owner?] and seven days. So six and sometimes seven. So it could be six, seven acres a day then. Six, seven acres a week you mine. One guy. No, not one guy, this takes a hundred people. I see. Now I'm getting it. Your company then, your company then would mine about six, seven acres a week. At this particular mine. Right. So for fifty-two weeks a year or so, that's quite a few acres that are mined. Yeah. Two-fifty, something like that. What, what was the land before that? Before it was strip-mined? Well, no good to anybody. Really. Of course, the area we're mining in, there's some oil wells there, but far as the surface, you're talking about surface. Right. It was run down. Growing up, which 90% of this ground even 20 years ago, 25 years ago, same way. People just quit farming. I guess went to welfare or something. Is that it? Not farmland, then. No. As of now, the holdings the coal companies have, even then I'd say in Illinois, Tennessee, places I've been, now I'd say in the next ten years, you're going to see some good topsoil move, because the company's going to pay prices, they're going to get this coal, and I'd say you're going to see some better farm ground, good farm ground that'll be bought, bought up by the coal companies in the next ten years. That well, you see that happening because of the profitable aspects of strip mining. Sure. Yeah. No doubt about it. Now what happens when -- to that land when it's strip-mined after you're through getting out the coal? Well, this is, this is a question I think that in my way of thinking it would take -- well, people's misinformed. Especially people that aren't around the mining area. Right now I think they have a state law in the state of Indiana in which I do know in Kentucky. There's three, three different grades that you are required to do. As of now, and the legislature has passed this, state of Indiana. If you go a graze land, you have to have a three percent slope. Now, the government, they're putting money in on this thing. Working with the companies on this, but this ground, 90 percent, well I'd say a hundred percent that I've seen mined, and I've been around strip mining for 20 years. The ground is much better conditioned now. There's -- I do know this, there is ground that -- [you can?] dry rot down across from rolling hills and places like that. I worked that area. It doesn't look too good right now, but that's all going to be changed, I mean, and the companies are making the [money?], that they're going to do this. How are they going to change it? Well, they're going to level it. I'd take you to a place up there right now as I say where the law is, where like we're throwing banks up say 70, 80 feet high. That right now they have tractors up a running 24 hours a day and this levelling my yard. And the phosphate and the things that goes back into the topsoil was tremendous. I mean, well, it's a proven fact that the ground is in much better shape than it was before it was ever turned over. Oh, and you feel that strip mining is beneficial to the land. Well, sure, if they'll level it. And which they're going to have to do. Sure it is. How do you feel about your work, you yourself, you, you feel your work is serving, public service? Your work. This is one of the questions I ask everybody, about the feel about their jobs. Well, to a degree I think -- I mean, there's a lot of things that I don't like about it, of course, but for instance I've never really appreciated seeing the ground torn up, especially if it was ground that was, could be made into something. But like I said before, 90% of the ground I've seen torn up, I mean, I mean you'd starve to death trying to raise a roasting ear on it. You know? He [Unintelligible] [Unintelligible]. But What's Oh, I A

Studs Terkel Yeah, I get it.

Bob Edney So, like I say. The ground is -- I mean, there isn't any doubt in my mind that it -- well, it has to be, I mean, if you think your [work?], I don't know. I don't think anybody's going to [ever?] say whether there's -- their work satisfy, I mean gratifying or anything like that, I think -- I just think that unless you're in business for yourself, I don't think you're gonna you know, I mean

Studs Terkel Nobody's really satisfied.

Bob Edney Satisfied working for the other person, but I think it does. I make a good living at it.

Studs Terkel Do you feel that you get what you're worth?

Bob Edney Well

Don Contract's still no [unitelligible].

Studs Terkel No, I'll change, I'm gonna change Bob's name anyway. I change names of people anyway so they're free to talk.

Bob Edney You don't have to change my name, 'cause everything I say to you, I mean it could be verbatim word-for-word.

Studs Terkel That's a question I ask everybody, how they feel about the work. Do you feel that you're getting paid what you deserve.

Bob Edney Well, I mean if you want to look at the econ-- I mean, nationwide probably -- yeah. Responsibility-wise and other things, no. I mean, just like you go out here and go on a piece of equipment and they say it's worth ten million dollars or fifteen million dollars. Well, you don't expect people to go out there and take care of that for you for thirty dollars a day or forty, do you? If you got that kind of money to spend for equipment, I mean and responsibility is the man that's on there. It just doesn't add up, you know?

Studs Terkel The fact is you, you Bob Edney are responsible for some pretty, pretty expensive equipment.

Bob Edney True. But that's the reason under the contract I make more money than anybody at the mine, but still and all, I feel like that they don't have the responsibility that I have either. And maybe the difference between what I do, maybe is eight, ten dollars a day you know, between the man down here and myself it, hell, he doesn't -- he doesn't, all he has to do is get his bucket and go to work and come home, you know?

Studs Terkel Yeah. Yeah. Because even though you may be getting more dough than he does, the difference is not that great considering the greater responsibility you

Bob Edney True.

Studs Terkel Do you feel this responsibility

Bob Edney Sure.

Studs Terkel Does it hang heavy on you?

Bob Edney Sure. Because if, if we don't preform [sic], nobody else [stand mine?]. Now, don't misunderstand me in this respect. It takes, takes the whole thing to go. But the primary thing is, if you don't uncover the coal, nobody is going to work. You know? I mean if you don't have it to load, you don't sell it, and the only way you're gonna load is uncover it.

Studs Terkel By the way, is there a technique to uncovering the coal? That's another thing, see. Is that your job too, to find out where the coal is? How's that work?

Bob Edney No, this is done. This has already been done on preliminary surveys, prospecting. This is already done. But. You know, as I was telling Don there before you came, it would take too long -- I mean, in other words I could start talking to you about, like you're telling me here or asking me. We have to look for the coal. No. But, you have to know how to handle the dirt to get the best advantage of your machinery, you know. I mean, you just can't take a piece of equipment that's developed say to take 80 foot of dirt and without some good management. And go on, getting that in, 95, and all you get over the maximum, that's gravy, you know. I mean. that's management. You follow

Studs Terkel That's what I mean. I mean, it's exactly the point, then you are skilled. See, there is a skill here then, of knowing how since it is a valuable piece of equipment and you've got to use it as fully as you can during the day, you can't be wasted with too much dirt. I mean, you have to know just how to get enough -- the coal out as quickly as possible.

Bob Edney Yeah, you have to uncover it as cheap as possible. I mean, so

Studs Terkel So does this involve a great deal of concentration on your part? Does it?

Bob Edney Well, I'd say this. From the time you go to work like 8:00 o'clock in the morning, when I step up on that piece of equipment and get in the seat, why there's not a piece that's not moving on that equipment all day long. You know.

Studs Terkel It's an eight-hour day. Eight hour day?

Bob Edney Seven hours and 15 minutes is a normal day for that's the contract. But we run around the clock, so we're on continuous operation, which they are -- day, three shifts a day, seven days a week.

Studs Terkel Oh, work's three shifts, continuous.

Bob Edney Right.

Studs Terkel And but then you also work seven days a week, sometimes six, seven, so that's a pretty full, so you're concentrating, everything's going the moment you step on that seat for some 49, 50 hours a week. More than that sometimes.

Bob Edney For, for me?

Studs Terkel Yeah.

Bob Edney Yeah. I mean, I work at least 48 every week. At least.

Studs Terkel Well, that's a big question to ask then. Are there tensions then? Do you feel tensions?

Bob Edney Oh, nah, I wouldn't say -- no, I don't think so. I think probably -- I'd say boy, now you could probably go talk to some of these boys just breaking in, been working say three years, maybe they would, but

Studs Terkel You've been doing this how long now?

Bob Edney Oh, I've been around it oh, this particular job maybe seven, eight years, but I've been around this stuff for 20,

Studs Terkel But I mean strip mining.

Bob Edney Since I was a kid.

Studs Terkel Yeah, but you were a deep miner originally, were you?

Bob Edney No, but my father was -- not my father, but my grandfather was, and my uncle. My father was a strip miner.

Studs Terkel So strip mining's been going on for a long time, then.

Bob Edney Oh, true, yeah.

Studs Terkel So you been

Unidentified Woman [Unintelligible].

Studs Terkel What's that?

Unidentified Woman As I understand it, strip mining's been going on longer in this area than a lot of others.

Don Right.

Studs Terkel Anywhere in the country. So Bob's been doing this now for 20 -- a couple, about 22 years.

Bob Edney Well, I actually when I was in high school back during the war, people you know they, they took the people out of the mines and took them to the service and I started working in a coal mine in the summertime when I was 15 years old. And then when I was a junior in high school, I'd go to school in the daytime, work the second shift at night at the [coal mine?].

Studs Terkel Did you start as an oiler? Did you

Bob Edney Oh, no, no. That's -- you don't start that way.

Studs Terkel Well, how did you start?

Bob Edney You start -- well, really I started in a laboratory. And then I went to surveying. Done that for a few years, then I went to -- now, these are company jobs. Now understand now, you're talking to a union man right now. But I have been a company man.

Studs Terkel What do you mean by these are company jobs?

Bob Edney Well, anything that isn't on production under the mine workers contract is company. In other words, your office personnel, foremen, pit foremen, any foreman's company people. In other words, any people that is not performing the worker.

Studs Terkel Doing the actual production.

Bob Edney Right.

Studs Terkel But you're a UAW man. You're an UMWA man, I mean.

Bob Edney Right now. But I had about 15 years company experience.

Studs Terkel Well, how's union feel about strip mining?

Bob Edney Well, I don't think there's a union man that wants to see the ground torn up and left. I don't think there is a man that you can go talk to today that works anywhere as a strip miner that want to see the ground as torn up and left. Like it has been done, and I think I think the, I think the union is, I think they're compatible to the people's feeling, the

Studs Terkel That's what I was wondering. This'll be a rather delicate question, Bob, do you ever feel in conflict? Do you feel conflict? Beside the -- the work you're doing, not you, the work that is [throughout?] the company's work tearing up the land, and the feeling you have about the land.

Bob Edney Oh, yeah. I think about it all the time. Sure. I think you have to. I mean, you tear up something that you know that it's taken years and years and years and I mean, you dig into rock and you get talking about, well, now the glacier went through here, what caused this particular rock to come out of the bank like it does, you know? Well, yeah, you have to think about it. I mean, you see things come out of that bank that hadn't been moved for years, you know. Naturally, I mean, if you're -- well, I don't see any -- that you just have to see those things and, then when you see 'em, you have to think

Don You've never dug up a graveyard, have you,

Bob Edney Bob? What?

Don Have you ever dug up a graveyard?

Bob Edney Yeah. Yeah.

Studs Terkel Really? Nothing then is exempt from strip mining in a way. No piece of land that -- your friend Donald's actually you dug up a graveyard, and you said yeah, that graveyards have been dug then.

Bob Edney Well, I don't say graveyards or cemeteries have been dug up, but I'm going to say this, like there's been a maybe a mistake in a survey where well, like say back in the Civil War.

Don Maybe [unintelligible].

Bob Edney Yeah. Right. And maybe a survey didn't exactly prove out right where -- I don't say a whole cemetery's been dug up, but I say that

Don -- They

Bob Edney Yeah, I'll say that it didn't -- graves dug into.

Studs Terkel Does the company in case of this sort, does the company make recompense of some

Bob Edney Right. And I can take you right up here right now to a place that -- the cemetery. We've dug all around it. Dug all around it. They cost the company -- oh, hell, I'd say maybe -- what would you say, a hundred thousand dollars just to go around this thing. They couldn't even get in, you couldn't drive in. After quitting time, people worked at that mine went in and built a road rock to roll, cut all the weeds, and the thing looks beautiful right now. People like that ought to go see it, you know? They don't, they don't understand this stuff that hap-- and this is just from a human relations standpoint. We're -- I mean miners are -- they're people.

Studs Terkel Oh, I know miners. I wasn't talking about the miners, I was thinking about the company. I [wasn't talking?] about the miners.

Bob Edney Well, the companies are too, to the most part. I mean, they're conducive to these ideas like -- hell, they furnished their equipment, and they didn't charge anybody. The people went out after work and run the equipment, cleaned the place up, you wouldn't know it today.

Studs Terkel Do you see -- because I know you obviously you've been thinking about this a great deal, this question of the conflict you know, of land and producing the coal. Is there some other way that you can envision of coal being mined without the land being disturbed this way? Is there some other way? With the -- considering all the automation equipment there is today.

Bob Edney Well, there's been a lot of talk as far as I can see, I don't think in our time, or I'd say the next century. Start of the next century. I don't think it's possible or feasible with the technical -- or technicological [sic] help and the things that are available today. I'll just put it this way. No. I mean, you're either going underground or you're going to get it on the top, and the underground is the oldest way in the world. We don't have the technology. And I'd say we got probably [far ahead?], just like Don and I was talking, hell, do you realize here 20, 25 years ago, soft coal industry employed 400,000 people. Right now there's a hundred thousand people. The union and the companies are conducive to the idea that mechanization is necessary for the people to get the benefits. And the union has never fought this, they've encouraged mechanization. That's why you've got these big power shovels, that's why however it's put people out of work. But to show you that the operator -- we're talking about now four to one, 20 years ago, then 20 years ago when it was four to one, the average ton of coal per day per man was something like 12 ton. Now it's up like something 28 to 30, and you've got 25% or 75% less personnel. See what I mean? And then they, people go out and say, "Well, yeah, coal miners' making big money." Hell yeah, they go out and, and for working people I guess they do, but

Studs Terkel What happens to all those miners who are put out by automation?

Bob Edney Well, they're just out of work, or hell, they go out here

Don Work at Whirlpool now

Bob Edney Yeah, they probably work down here at Whirlpool or

Don [They raid? other industries. Impossible to [unintelligible].

Studs Terkel Is there competition among miners then today for jobs?

Bob Edney Oh, skill, they can't find the skilled people. Hell, you take -- well, for strip mining. I'm going to talk about strip mining. I'm, understand I'm talking company and union. Both. They're undermanned. They don't have the personnel, you take in the last 10 years, last five years. Well, the damn fact is anymore the people you get, 25 years old, I mean they just don't want to learn. That's what it amounts to. I don't, I don't -- yet they, and the company is the same way, and the management has the same problem. We've got people up there that they come out here and maybe they worked up here [for damn God?] somewhere, because -- and they don't pay their people, see? Well, you get bad management that way, you've got to bring kids in out here, break 'em in, 'cause they don't want to pay them. They have to pay us. But far as skill, far as shovel operators, far as shovel oilers, far as people that know what it takes. Well, yeah, they're hurting. There's no doubt. Well, hell, Peabody started a school in Missouri. They're starting one in West Virginia, these companies found that you're going to have to.

Studs Terkel Most, most strip miners then are veterans such as yourself.

Bob Edney No, not today, I'd say no. That's the trouble right now. I'd say 15 percent are. The rest of 'em are -- see, the thing -- in 1954. We'll go back to 1954. Mining industry was dead, coal mining was. Hell, everybody quitting burn coal. Domestic, you know, was what kept the coal mines going. Well, everybody went off that and went to gas and oil. Coal mines were dead. Well then in 1954 you had a few power plants that, they were being built by private concerns that start bringing it back. But even up 'til I'd say last five years. Coal mines have been around, I mean it's been dead relatively. Then they brought this atomic thing on, you know. It was going to do wonders with that. Well, that slowed money down in the industry. There's nobody's going out here and develop a mine maybe cost 50 million dollars and then the government's gonna come in here and say, "Now, look, we're going to, we're going to put atomic energy in here and we gonna spend taxpayers' money, we don't give a damn what it costs." But they found out now that that wouldn't feasible [sic], and isn't in the near future. So now coal mines' booming. All your -- well, I just look at, just like we were talking, 1954 up 'til the last three years, your natural gas, peoples consume that at a tremendous rate. They don't have enough natural gas to hardly last a century. They don't even know where they're going to get it. All right, look at your oil. The cheapest in this world right now is coal. This is for heat, light, and anything. So it has to be, it's going to be a growing

Studs Terkel So coal has come back then.

Bob Edney Sure. From the time we got our last contract three years ago. Companies were getting three dollars a ton for coal power plants. Now they're getting six and six and a half a ton. They've doubled, 100% increase. And even now they're not even bidding their coal out. They won't even, they won't even make an estimate. Power plants come to them now and say, "What are you going to sell us coal for?" "We don't know, what are you going to give us?" If they don't say something or see something, hell, they don't even, they don't even talk to them.

Studs Terkel It's strip mining that's helped coal come back, then,

Bob Edney Well, sure. I mean, there's no question about

Studs Terkel Because it's that much cheaper than for the operator than deep mining.

Bob Edney Well, sure.

Don [Unintelligible].

Studs Terkel What are the some of the dangers, say, far less than deep mining, but of strip mining? What would be some of the occupational hazards?

Bob Edney Well, first place, like us, I'm just gonna talk about my particular job. I [met Doc?] could probably tell you or talk about all of them. But. First thing you're doing, you're dealing with 4160 volts of electricity all the time. Now. And that goes, I mean, just like if you stepped off of this floor right up here. I mean, if you don't have a -- if you don't have a good ground system, you're getting a gram. I mean, you can step off of this floor right up here to even get up to your job and you'll be dead. You know. I mean, same way like shooting explosives, which we're involved in all the time. Say they put 2000 pounds of dynamite to a hole, which maybe the hole was eight, nine inches in diameter, maybe it's 70 feet deep, say. Well, 2000 pound in that. Well, if you don't get this hole tamped right, and this thing kicks out from, instead of going like this, if it goes like this

Studs Terkel Instead of going

Bob Edney Instead of going vertical, say it goes horizontal. You get a kick out and well, hell, I've seen machinery like this, 75-foot high just to frame the house covered up. People, you know. So

Studs Terkel See guys hurt?

Bob Edney Oh, yeah. I mean, it's, the things like this, I mean, there's, well hell, there's 10,000 ways every day. I mean, that -- well, it's dangerous, but it still isn't as dangerous as being underground.

Studs Terkel It's the dangers of the general

Don You never heard of sixty people trapped in a cave-in at a strip mine, you know, and they're [sure?] to bring the bodies out. [So?] one at a time.

Studs Terkel You mean the deep mines, you mean.

Don I said I, that's what I say, never heard of

Studs Terkel Yeah. Almost, yeah, it's true. No, that's true. What are some of the other -- is your day? Oh, I know a question was, then how's your day go? Is it go fast for you?

Bob Edney Well, just [a paying?] and knowing what I'm doing. Course, I think anybody's interested in what they're doing. Their day. I mean, you can make it fast or you can make it slow. Lot of days when you sit there and dig all day long, it gets kind of tiresome. You get 30 minutes off for lunch, you get out of that seat, and stretch a little while, it goes kind of slow, but actually it's a relief once in a while to get 150 foot in the air, you know. It's a break from your routine. You know? Like you're repairing -- when you have things we have to do, and periodically it's a break.

Studs Terkel So when you're way up in the air, that's kind of a release in a way.

Bob Edney Right.

Studs Terkel Yeah.

Bob Edney For me it is.

Studs Terkel That's interesting. Do you, do you ever take your work home with you? You know, in your mind.

Bob Edney No, I doubt -- no. Probably like right now, I mean, the only time my wife and I ever talk about it is if, oh, like, I'd say it this way, if you're offered a different job, maybe I'll talk a decision over with her. But otherwise

Studs Terkel -- No, I meant like there was a problem, there was, you had a rough day or a good day, or that doesn't affect your evening.

Bob Edney No. They don't know when I leave there, my day's over.

Studs Terkel That's it.

Bob Edney 'Til the next

Studs Terkel Yeah, that's it. How do you let go? You know, since it is a full day. How do you release yourself, you know?

Bob Edney Well, I'll probably go out and drink beer. Tonight if I want to go out and play poker, hell, I'll go out and play poker.

Studs Terkel One of the

Bob Edney If I want to go to a football game,

Studs Terkel One of the questions of course is the question of fatigue. You feel, is there a physical fatigue you feel?

Bob Edney Well, I think to the extent, any, any person. I think it depends on how hard you work in anything. I mean, I don't care what you're doing if you go out and don't get too -- in other words, if you just want to go out and get by, I don't think you're going to get too fatigued. But if you go out and try to do the -- in other words, if you try to do better than -- well, I'll just say it in my case. I know what this piece of equipment is ready to do. I always try to get that, and try to get better. I think if you do that, you're going to get an amount of, certain amount of fatigue there.

Studs Terkel That of course leads to the next question that you practically answered. Then you do have a sort of pride in your work.

Bob Edney Sure. Sure. I mean, any company, I don't care if you go out there and work for anybody. I mean, especially if, if, hell, if they're worth 150 million dollars a -- you don't need to think for a minute that they're not gonna know what you're doing. They didn't get there that way, you know. And if I want to get any place, if I'm supposed to move 5000 cubic yards of dirt an hour, if that's what that machine's rated at, if I know that, you know damn well they know it. Isn't that right?

Studs Terkel So that you, you something, you used the phrase "you want to get in your place," you meant at work. Do you have ambitions to do something else?

Bob Edney Sure. I've been offered better jobs. But thing of it is, I've got a year and a half to go. I'll have my union time in, I'll be -- I'll have my pension time in there, and I've still got plenty of time to go company-wise, which I'm planning on [doing?].

Studs Terkel In other words, have your own company, you mean.

Bob Edney Well. Just take it a way that whatever, I'm going to, I think I probably have enough knowledge and probably enough people that I could get behind me that I could if I want to. Which I think I'm going

Studs Terkel Be an independent operator in a way.

Bob Edney Well, I'll just put it this way, I think probably I'd entertain the idea of being in an operation. From the company's [side? site?].

Studs Terkel Let's see, what other questions. Is it -- what it is, what it is, I know, 'cause you're asked this many times, this and that here and other people here, I know that Don is, what is it that people who are not strip miners or operators worry about? What is the misinformation they -- what is -- 'cause I hear a lot of talk about this, you know. People in the community.

Bob Edney Well, I think probably in -- I think probably in this area you won't find this. What you read, the people are really concerned, are people that read the papers. Hell, they may be in New York City, they may be in L.A., they may be in Chicago, they may be other places. But I think their concern is what we've talked about, in which I, that's why I've told you, I think the people working in these mines have the same concern. They don't like to see this. But these people are being misinformed. Hell, what you got to do if you want to be truthful, have you ever seen an article that you've ever read about this environmental thing and about your soil being tore up and not put back, but have you ever read a word, I mean to go say this in a local paper, you take a copywrite, a story in your local paper. If it comes out of New York Chicago or L.A. or any place, I guarantee you they won't say this damn ground was worth thirty dollars an acre when it was tore up.

Studs Terkel Yeah, you pointed it wasn't, it wasn't worth that to begin with.

Bob Edney True. People were being misinformed. Now, don't misunderstand me. For years this things went on and I think these companies have been at fault. I do. But hell, they're just like you or me. They're not going to do in -- I mean, this is just a dead cost to them, 'cause see they've done got the gravy. And when they have to go putting it back, I mean this is just dead weight. But the position now that the coal operators are in, and the industry itself, hell, they can afford to do it. So there's no, there's no problem, they're going to do this. But the thing of it is, these people that are concerned, I mean, hell, they're being misinformed. I mean I'm, and I'm not, I'm not an operator. I'm just a working man. But I don't think it's fair to the industry. I don't think it's fair to the operator, or fair to the people in the industry for this kind of talk to go on, unless they're fully informed. Now, if they're fully informed, then I say okay, and if they draw their conclusions and are informed and out for a self-see look, I've said, hell, I can take you up here now and show you ground that we were tearing up and take you 500 feet from that that we've already tore up, hell, you wouldn't know it was the same -- you couldn't believe it. It's leveler than my yard out here.

Studs Terkel I think one last question now I want to ask you about this. You almost spoke about it, too. In your work, do you ever have -- daydream. You ever daydream, you No, I don't have

Bob Edney ever No, I don't have time.

Studs Terkel You don't have time.

Bob Edney No.

Unidentified Woman Don [unintelligible].

Studs Terkel What's that?

Unidentified Woman Don

Studs Terkel Don daydreams, yeah. But you don't, 'cause you mean it's a question of watching it all the time. A question of watching the machine

Bob Edney Well, yeah, and I mean hell, there's people, lives involved. You know. I mean, I don't -- I don't get paid for daydreaming. I mean, I've got a -- I just don't have that kind of time.

Studs Terkel You're never -- do you ever do deep mining? You yourself?

Bob Edney Oh, I have, yeah. Yeah. I've [surveyed?] underground mines. Been in a lot of them.

Studs Terkel And you, you've seen the difference then.

Bob Edney Oh, yeah. Yeah. You don't have a -- well, there just ain't any comparison.

Don You ain't got black lung, I tell ya.

Bob Edney No.

Studs Terkel Is black lung only the result of deep mining?

Bob Edney Well, federal law right now says that's all pertains to, and I, but I do think there's certain situation in a strip-mining operations where it would be -- I mean, it wouldn't be outlandish to think that there's -- could be people that could have this. I mean, you take around tipples, the dust is tremendous. I know [up here?] we have, we have tractor's pushing D-9 bulldozers. Pushing coal into a, it's in a stockpile. Pushing them into a hopper up there, well, hell, that dust is tremendous, and I'm involved in the safety aspect up there from the union side. We've been trying to get something done about it, I think we're going to get something done about it, but there's no doubt in my mind that these people that go out here and have to worry inhalators to stay on their job can't be subjected to black

Studs Terkel You say inhalators. Do people wear inhalators?

Bob Edney Sure.

Studs Terkel In strip mines, work strip mines?

Bob Edney Sure.

Studs Terkel You mean what, sort of around the nose.

Bob Edney Right.

Studs Terkel Do you wear one of those?

Bob Edney Oh, no. I mean, this is just a, I mean this is not a prevailing thing. I mean, this is an exception in strip mines. But nevertheless, it's there, and you can't say that, say if you've got ten people working around this, out of a hundred, I mean you just can't say, "Well, the other 90's not gonna have black lung, so you aren't either, you know.

Studs Terkel Well, gee, you've been great. Any other thoughts? Bob, this has been absolutely great, you know. At first [I thought you weren't going to say much, you were going to throw me off the ladder?]. Any other thoughts come to your mind that we haven't -- anything I haven't asked you you feel like talking about it.

Bob Edney No, I don't have any. No.

Studs Terkel Thank you very much. It was great. I forgot to ask Bob Edney one -- I got this too high. One last question. And it was about the machine. Suppose for one reason or another you have to go, you need relief. Can you stop the machine and just take off?

Bob Edney Well, like I said, no. I mean, you don't ever stop it. I mean, I have an oiler there that you, you know, you break him in to operate, too, and he, he takes over. But, like 30 minutes lunchtime, when I'm eating lunch, that machine's still running.

Studs Terkel But if you have to say, have nature's call or something, then he has to be there to take over the machine.

Bob Edney That's true.

Studs Terkel But if he's not around, you've got to wait then.

Don What was that figure, $80 [unintelligible].

Bob Edney Well, it just -- it depends on how bad they're hurting for coal, but this $80 a minute downtime see, is what they figure. I mean, this is just under ordinary circumstances.

Unidentified Woman Well, then it's true the machine never stops. I've heard them say the machine never stops.

Bob Edney That's true.

Unidentified Woman It never stops!

Bob Edney The only time that machine stops like when we change shifts.

Don That's 840 an hour.

Bob Edney Like to grease the bearings and things takes about 10 minutes. Most machines they even got a time clock on you, how long it takes you to swing, how long it takes you to grease, how long it takes you to load your bucket going to the bank. How long it takes you to get over here and dump it. How long it gets back. You're on a tight course.

Studs Terkel How about time out for a smoke?

Bob Edney Well, I, I smoke, drink coffee and never miss a lick.

Studs Terkel Oh, you smoke and drink your coffee while in the seat.

Bob Edney Yeah.

Studs Terkel While doing it.

Bob Edney Yeah.

Studs Terkel So it's not a question of taking a break for it. There's no thing like a break.

Bob Edney No, there's no break. They don't pay you for that.

Studs Terkel Some postscripts to -- I'm in the car now, but some very quick postscripts to Tom, to Bob Edney. He said something about -- indicate the conflict in him, he said something about some of these stones, rock formations took billions of years to develop, and billions of years to develop is the phrase he used. Of course your mind is on it. One of his regrets is that he might have been a major league ballplayer. He had a contract about 20 years -- about 25 years ago with the New York Giants, and then was married, and did not follow through on it. And to this day he says he has the regret of trying -- never knowing whether he would have made it or not, it's a thin line between a major leaguer and a minor leaguer, so one of the regrets of his life is never having really had his chance as a pro ballplayer. First baseman. As we're talking now, in retrospect, hearing part of Bob Edney, the strip miner, you were saying the machine he works on, the panel there of that bull -- that steam shovel, whatever you call it, is about as complicated as that of a air controller or an airline pilot.

Unidentified Woman Yes, I would imagine he follows quite a number of instruments if he -- if everything he does is measured at the time. This is a very complex instrument panel on this machine, I've never seen one, but I -- probably very few people have, other than the people who operate these machines, because they don't let the public in there to look at those things.

Studs Terkel They don't.

Unidentified Woman Oh, no. But I would imagine the instrument panel on that machine is quite complex. Also, his, his capacity as a sportsman, his, his dexterity of his hands, the coordination that

Studs Terkel -- An

Unidentified Woman Yes, he's an athlete, and that this machine needs an athlete. The dexterity of his hands and his coordination, his timing, timing is very important in this work.

Studs Terkel So there he is, the guy who was almost a pro athlete is still it seems an athlete, and this should help explain as well as all of his pride, this matter of status. I should have asked him about status, by the way. How he's looked upon by his peers, by others, you know. I imagine there's a great status to being a strip miner, isn't there?

Unidentified Woman I would think so, but I don't think he would have answered that question maybe. Anything you said that got a little close to it, he doesn't -- he wasn't too eager to answer.

Studs Terkel This is stuff we won't use, of course, on this, in the book. But this rather remarkable figure. A man of so many conflicts quite obviously there, would not reveal anything of himself, ever. His feelings really. Once or twice [unintelligible]. His friend, of course, the artist, revealed quite a bit about him.

Unidentified Woman Well, he wasn't revealing it directly, so of course the theory is that you get the -- you know, you get it from what he may not say.

Studs Terkel There was something you mentioned, you know, in hearing part of the tape played back. He can smoke. I asked about a break for a smoke. He says smoke and drink coffee without missing a lick. This comes back to the question of coordination,

Unidentified Woman Yeah, this is the sportsman talking again. He said, when you asked him if he daydreamed. No, he doesn't daydream. I bet a ballplayer doesn't daydream either, while he's playing ball.

Studs Terkel Concentration on the event. [Also?] he was described as being something on the nature of a -- you said pitcher, kind of a quarterback. The guy in charge, 'cause he's the boss of the operation.

Unidentified Woman Yes.

Studs Terkel Charged to see many things happening at the same time.

Unidentified Woman He's an authority. He's in charge of men as well as a machine. And this machine is really -- I'd be interested to know whether he -- which he respects more, the men underneath him, or the machine possibly.

Studs Terkel Well, now you've just -- I'm glad -- he would never have answered this question, but you can. I might even use your thoughts as sort of a postscript to him, you know, in italics? And that's this, I remember I was saying, gee, how different he is, how much more he controls the machine, not the machine him in contrast to assembly line workers at General Motors or Ford. But it turns out that he has, he's become part of the machine too, that he can't stop.

Unidentified Woman Well, he's, he's the new new man as far as I can see it. He's intelligent, they have to have an intelligent man to work this machine. You know, they've got to have a -- he's not a robot. His mind, his philosophy and his way of looking at life is robotic, not his intellect. That's separated. That's very frightening to think

Studs Terkel I think you're hitting something. Very -- terribly important. But he's the new kind of guy.

Unidentified Woman He's the new kind of robot.

Studs Terkel In contrast to the assembly line worker.

Unidentified Woman Yes, but I found him personally a very appealing man.

Studs Terkel Well, you did because you also found conflict in him.

Unidentified Woman I'd be, I'd be very unhap-- I'd be very, if I went to stand in front of his shovel, I'd be thinking about him.

Studs Terkel Well, we're going to see, I hope we're going to see this young woman. You know, in the next day or two. Bessie Smith. Who stands in front of shovels. You were saying what an encounter that would be. Bessie Smith Yes. Yes. I want Bessie Smith

Unidentified Woman and Yes. Yes. I want Bessie Smith to hear this. When she's finished, I want her to hear this. This man. Tom Ramsey, he's a different kind of man. He's not as complex a man as this man is, I don't think. He's an organizer, an anti-strip mine organizer. I think it's kind of ironic that he, I don't see him as being as complex a person as this man

Studs Terkel Tom is also a younger man, isn't he?

Unidentified Woman Yes, he is, a little younger.

Studs Terkel Must be Tom has a -- maybe he has a complex [and that's?] concerning his work and his life. He may have a complex concerning his life. This man is -- complex concerning his work and his life. It would seem.

Unidentified Woman Yes, I would say so. His work is so devastating to his personality.

Studs Terkel 'Cause see, Ramsey feels he's right all the way. Of course, you know fighting the rapists of the land and the exploiters. Whereas this guy's [in conference?], he's getting about 20,000 a year. Remember when his friend the artist was saying, he was offered about 1200 a month, that's a big comedown, that means 300 hundred bucks a week is a comedown, which [we imply?] he's getting about 400 a week, 20,000 a year, see. So he's rationalizing. He himself in the conversation is implying there's something wrong going on. He was protesting a little too much about how good the companies were and the land being bad, at the same time of course you have feelings he said. When the, the geological, you know the geological setup you see is being destroyed overnight by his machines. And they're going to take care of the land soon, too. But the thing, much like to be an advertising agency executive who's getting about 25,000 a year justifying his job in the making or the selling of cigarettes.

Unidentified Woman Well, it's possible to see [if?] for me to see a person like myself or Tom Ramsey, who has a decided moral point of view as being more bigoted than this man. That's a great thing to [see? say?].

Studs Terkel You mean [that?] when a guy's in conflict, there's less righteousness about him. Less self-righteousness about him.

Unidentified Woman Yes, that's right.

Studs Terkel Any other thoughts about Bob Edney and his work and this strip miner. This man. This kind of man.

Unidentified Woman Well, just again how, that this man is an appealing person. I just hated sitting there listening to him, I just hated. That's all. I felt a great, great compassion for him. I was astounded at the, at the magnitude of the damage that this machine can do