September 2010, Week 5


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Portside Moderator <[log in to unmask]>
Thu, 30 Sep 2010 21:34:15 -0400
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More than 100 Arrested at White House Demanding End to
Mountaintop Removal; Musicians Save Mountains - Dave
Matthews, Big Kenny, Emmylou Harris, and Kathy Mattea

Appalachia Rising
Monday, September 27th, 2010 at 9:55 pm


WASHINGTON DC - More than 100 people were arrested today
during Appalachia Rising, the largest national protest to
end mountaintop removal (MTR) coal mining. Arrests included
Appalachian residents; retired coal miners; renowned climate
scientist, James Hansen; and faith leaders. After a march
from Freedom Plaza and a rally at Lafayette Park, more than
100 stage a sit-in in front of the White House to demand
President Obama follow his own science and end mountaintop
mining. The likely charge is obstruction.

In addition to the non-violent civil disobedience at the
White House, four people were arrested during a sit-in at
PNC bank for protesting the bank's role as the lead U.S.
financier of MTR.

Arrest in front of the White House

"The science is clear, mountaintop removal destroys historic
mountain ranges, poisons water supplies and pollutes the air
with coal and rock dust," said renowned climate scientist
James Hansen, who was arrested in today's protest at the
White House. "Mountaintop removal, providing only a small
fraction of our energy, can and should be abolished. The
time for half measures and caving in to polluting industries
must end."

Appalachia Rising is being led by residents of West
Virginia, Kentucky, Virginia, and Tennessee - Appalachian
states directly impacted by mountaintop removal. They are
calling for the Obama Administration to immediately abolish
the practice of blowing up mountains and dumping the debris
into nearby streams and valleys to reach seams of coal. "I
have talked, begged, debated, written letters to officials,
published op-ed pieces in newspapers and lobbied on the
state and federal level to end mountaintop removal," said
Mickey McCoy, former mayor and lifelong resident of Inez,
Kentucky, who was also arrested today.  "Being arrested?
That's such a small price to pay for being heard. My home
and people are paying the real price for mountaintop
removal. They are dying."

The tide has been turning on mountaintop removal with
Appalachian residents, scientists, congressional
representatives and environmentalists decrying the practice
as coming at too high a cost to public health, land, water
and taxpayers. Last April, in response to resounding
opposition to mountaintop removal, the EPA announced new
guidelines for permitting mountaintop removal valley fills.
However, the impacts of mountaintop removal mining are so
destructive that Appalachia Rising is calling on the
administration to end the practice altogether by halting
active mines and creating a permanent moratorium on new

As a step in the right direction, groups have called on the
EPA to immediately veto the Spruce No. 1 Mine project, which
would be one of the largest strip-mining operations in
Appalachia. The EPA is set to make a decision in the coming
weeks on whether to reverse the Corps of Engineers' 2007
approval for the mine. With mountaintop removal becoming
increasingly controversial, the EPA's decision on the 2,278-
acre Spruce project is being closely watched as a sign of
the mining practice's future.

"We know, and the Obama Administration has said, that
mountaintop removal mining is bad for human health and the
environment," says Jane Branham of the Southern Appalachian
Mountain Stewards in VA.  "The issue here is whether
President Obama will follow the science and do something
about it now!"

A dozen leading scientists published a paper in the journal
Science in January 2009, concluding that mountaintop removal
is so destructive that the government should stop giving out
new permits altogether. "The science is so overwhelming that
the only conclusion that one can reach is that mountaintop
mining needs to be stopped," said Margaret Palmer, a
professor at the University of Maryland Center for
Environmental Sciences and the study's lead author.

Mountaintop removal is a radical form of coal mining in
which up to 800 feet, sometimes more, of densely forested
mountaintops are literally blown up to reach thin coal
seams. The resulting millions of tons of rock are dumped
into surrounding valleys and rivers, polluting the
headwaters that provide drinking water to millions of
Americans. Already, 500 mountains and 2,000 miles of streams
have been lost due to this devastating mining practice. A
2009 report estimated that coal mining costs Appalachia five
times more in premature deaths than it provides the region
in jobs, taxes and other economic benefits.


Dave Matthews talks about the destruction of mountaintop
removal, profit and why it must be stopped

NRDC interviews Dave Matthews


Big Kenny recorded this video on-the-spot during a visit to
Kayford Mountain

Big Kenny - Contaminate



Music Saves Mountains Press Conference


NRDC President Frances Beinecke joined with musicians
Emmylou Harris, Big Kenny, Kathy Mattea to bring attention
to the problem of mountaintop removal coal mining in the
Appalachias. Find out more at



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