Posted by: jblevins | November 9, 2009

Stopping MTR on Coal River Mountain

Recently, the Eco-Justice Working Group of the National Council of Churches went on an immersion experience to Whitesburg, Kentucky, to see the impacts of Mountain firsthand, but also heard the stories of people whose lives have been drastically impacted – from lost jobs, to lost homes and properties, to lost sense of place and being. Katie Holmes, of the Prebyterian Church (USA) Environmetal Ministries Office, wrote following the experience, “In the face of such fear and injustice, the resilience and courage of those who are speaking out against mountaintop removal is inspiring.  A resident said that others think of Appalachians as “throw-away people.”  Indeed, the coal companies treat the local population this way.  We need to stand in solidarity with our brothers and sisters in Appalachia and fight this idea that the people and the mountains can be thrown away.  This is not only a matter of environmental concern, it is also a justice issue.  Folks we visited with in Whitesburg went so far as to say that ‘democracy is under siege in eastern Kentucky.'”

We now have an opportunity to take action in a different part of Appalachia. Last week reports confirmed that blasting had begun on Coal River Mountain in West Virginia, and the West Virginia DEP confirmed that coal was being moved off the mountain. Rising above a picturesque valley in southern West Virginia, like an oasis in the midst of coal country, Coal River Mountain represents the last, best hope for a community resisting the legacy of dirty energy in this part of Appalachia. Local residents have rallied around a plan to build a wind farm on the peaks of Coal River Mountain, the highest ever slated for mountaintop removal mining.  Click here to call on President Obama to stop this destruction.

Over 1,200 miles of streams have been buried because of dumping practices related to MTR. Dumping mining waste in streams pollutes the waters, having adverse effects on the creatures living in the waters and the humans living nearby.  Polluted waters can cause extinctions or endangerments of species.  Additionally, communities rely upon the waterways as a source for drinking and bathing, but dumping makes it an unsuitable source for either.

The proposed wind farm would provide enough wind potential to provide electricity for over 85,000 homes, as well as clean, permanent jobs to the community.  All God’s people share the responsibility of protecting lands and water so that all of humankind, especially those living in poverty and generations yet to come, may use and enjoy Creation. Click here to call on President Obama to end the Coal Mountain mining project.


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