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Meet Nina and Mickey McCoy, schoolteachers from Inez, Kentucky, as they take their fight against King Coal to Washington. This special documents some of the disastrous impacts of coal mining on Central Appalachia, where twenty-five percent of the McCoys' county has now been strip-mined. In addition to the destruction of these historic landscapes, the process of mountaintop removal wreaks havoc on the ecosystem. The leftover material is dumped into "valley fills," which have thus far killed over 1,000 miles of streams. The cleaning of the coal brings still more problems: the sludge left over from the process is stored in enormous ponds, one of which broke in Inez, sending 350 million gallons of toxic waste into the McCoys' community. Since the sludge spill in 2000, residents of Inez have not been able to drink the town's water, and water remains the best-selling item in the supermarket. "How can anybody claim that if we don't have coal, we'll be worse off?" asks Nina. "I don't think we could be any worse off."
THE REAL McCOYS also documents the McCoys' journey into activism. Tired of writing letters to their representatives and getting no response, they decide to go to the next level: they will risk arrest, along with hundreds of others, at the Capitol Climate Action in Washington. "We're going to take our part of the problem to Washington DC, and hope that the whole nation begins to realize that there is such a thing as global warming, and coal is at the heart of it."