In the past year, we’ve done a lot of work to help save God’s mountains and protect Appalachian communities from the destructive practice of mountaintop removal coal mining. We put together a little report on our work and thought we’d share it around so you know what we’ve been up to.
- We partnered with a faith-based organization called LEAF (Lindquist environmental action fellowship) in advocating for the Tennessee Scenic Vistas Protection Act by:
- Publishing an op-ed by Tennessee native Rev. Gradye Parsons, stated clerk (head of communion) of the PC(USA): “Mountaintop Removal Violates Christian Faith.”
- Sharing the LEAF action alert with people on the NCC list from Tennessee
- All together, thanks especially to help from the PC(USA), the Mennonite church, the Episcopal church, we generated more than 3,000 advocacy actions in the past year of the campaign.
- Arranged meetings with the Center for Environmental Quality as well as staff from both West Virginia Senators Mansion and Rockefeller, as well as Rep. Rahall. Requested acknowledgement of and response to disturbing new evidence of negative health impacts of mountaintop removal.
- Delivered to the EPA, the Administration, and Congress:
- A faith statement to the EPA with ten sign-ons calling for an end to mountaintop removal.
- A letter to the EPA thanking them for objecting to 19 mountaintop removal coal mining permits in Kentucky. It had sign ons from seven regional bodies and 11 national bodies.
- A letter to the Administration in protest of a step backwards on mountaintop removal mining with the release of the Army Corps of Engineers’ Nationwide Permit 21. This letter was accompanied by 1,003 emails to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers urging them to reconsider their decision to stop the suspension of the requirement for coal companies to go through an individual permitting process for proposed mountaintop removal mines. Accompanying this letter was the “When you drink of clear water, must you muddy the rest with your feet?” Mountaintop Removal Statement signons, which numbered more than 2,000.
Resources and Education:
- We distributed the documentary film “Dirty Business” to faith advocates in 23 states. (AZ, CA, GA, IL, IN, KS, KY, MA, MD, MD, ME, NC, OH, OR, PA, SC, TX, VA, SC, TN, VA, FL, KY)
- Developed liturgical resource on mountaintop removal
- Developed a “Dirty Business” screening study guide, which can be adapted for general study on mountaintop removal issues.
The following presentations have been conducted by staff of the NCC Eco-Justice Program on ethics of energy and mountaintop removal coal mining:
- 60-person workshop on Mountaintop removal and fracking at Ecumenical Advocacy Days in Washington, DC.
- Four small workshops (6-12 people) as part of an Ethics of Energy Story Tour in March 2012: Union Church in Berea, KY, Marshall University in Huntington, WV, Davis and Elkins College in Elkins, WV, and University of Pittsburgh in PA.
- January workshop at Luther Place ELCA church young adults’ group in Washington, DC.
- In the past 8 months, we hosted a total of 12 screenings of the film “Dirty Business” about the coal industry and mountaintop removal. One screening was in Kentucky coal country, and the rest were in California, Illinois, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Oregon, Maine, and South Carolina.
- Hosted a webinar in October with 47 participants and 80 registrants. Registrants were from 31 different states.
- As a result of the NCC’s work on mountaintop removal, two letters to the editor and three op-eds have been submitted (TN, VA, ME) to local and regional papers
- An op-ed signed by Rev. Greg Griffey has been published in VA’s Roanoke times
- An op-ed signed by Rev. Gradye Parsons was published in TN’s The Tennessean.
- The most viral Facebook post on the NCC Eco-Justice page in 2011 was our advocacy alert: “Only God Should Move Mountains.”