Fourteen Kentuckians to occupy Gov. Beshear’s office over weekend protesting mountaintop removal

Press Release: Fourteen Kentuckians Will Remain in Governor’s Office Over the Weekend in Protest of Mountaintop Removal Mining

11 February 2011

Contact: Silas House/Jason Howard 606.224.1208

FRANKFORT
– At least fourteen Kentuckians have decided to remain in Gov. Steve
Beshear’s office over the weekend at the invitation of the governor
himself.

Among
those remaining in the governor’s office include Wendell Berry, 76, the
acclaimed writer who has decried mining abuses for the past fifty
years; Beverly May, 52, a nurse practitioner from Floyd County; Mickey
McCoy, 55, former educator and mayor of Inez; Teri Blanton, 54, a
grassroots activist from Harlan County; Stanley Sturgill, 65, a former
underground coal miner of Harlan County; Rick Handshoe, 50, a retired
Kentucky State Police radio technician of Floyd County; John Hennen, 59,
a history professor at Morehead State University; and Martin Mudd, 28,
an environmental activist.

“We
have resolved to stay while Gov. Beshear reconsiders his position on
mountaintop removal mining,” the group said in a joint statement. “As we
are just steps away from the Governor’s Mansion, we invite the governor
to join us at the Capitol—the People’s House—for more conversations
over the weekend.”

The
group is staying in the governor’s office in anticipation of I Love
Mountains Day on Monday, an annual rally held to draw attention to
mountaintop removal and the Stream Saver Bill, which has languished for
six years in the House Natural Resources Committee, chaired by Rep. Jim
Gooch (D-Providence), a longtime supporter of the coal industry.

“We
invite our fellow Kentuckians to join us in solidarity on the steps of
the Capitol on Monday,” said the group. A march to the Capitol from the
Kentucky River Bridge will commence at 11:30 a.m. The rally at the
Capitol will begin at 12:15 p.m.

They
expressed disappointment in today’s meeting with Gov. Beshear. “There
are times when our elected officials must choose between being a leader
and being a politician. This is one of those times. We call upon Gov.
Beshear to lead by ending mountaintop removal, by beginning a sincere
public dialogue about creating sustainable jobs for our hard-working
miners, by putting the vital interests of ordinary Kentuckians above the
special interests of an abusive industry.”

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