MORE

Here's the photo Doug Lamborn feared was child porn -- one activist says speaks volumes

From Pennsylvania to West Virginia (and Colorado), pictures of bright orange, iron-laced water pouring down streams and out of kitchen faucets have been shared by activists to demonstrate the dangers of coal mining. But one photo scheduled for display before Congress' energy and mineral resources subcommittee was deemed "inappropriate" by staffers and a noted former Schmuck of the Week, Representative Doug Lamborn.

The image, taken by photojournalist Katie Falkenberg (see below), depicts a naked five-year-old girl sitting in orange bathwater. It was originally included in the PowerPoint presentation that Boone County,West Virginia, coal mining activist Maria Gunnoe presented in front of the subcommittee Friday. But not only was the photo pulled from Gunnoe's presentation, but the activist was taken aside for questioning by a Capitol police officer, allegedly tipped off by senior committee staff that the photo constituted child pornography.

Here is a screen shot of photographer Katie Falkenberg's website, on which the image is available for public view.
Here is a screen shot of photographer Katie Falkenberg's website, on which the image is available for public view.

"I knew that they messed up," says Gunnoe, who was testifying about the negative effects of the Spruce #1 mine permit, the largest mountaintop-removal permit in West Virginia's history. "Whenever they censor a photograph, people are going to want to know what it is."

Lamborn, who heads the subcommittee, admitted to the Denver Post that he decided to remove the photo without having seen it. "If it's inappropriate, I don't think I should be viewing it," he said. "The fewer people who viewed it, the better."

"It's disturbing that this committee would go so far to distort the truth about [mountaintop removal]," Gunnoe says. The photo may be difficult to see, she concedes, but it demonstrates the reality of coal mining. "This is how it affects us in our homes."

To read Maria Gunnoe's official testimony and view her presentation, click here.

More from our Media archive: "Doug Lamborn named Keith Olbermann's Worst Person in the World for tar-baby line (VIDEO)."


Sponsor Content