WHEN: June 15, 10:00 AM
WHERE: WV State Capitol Back Steps Near Fountain, Charleston, WV
WHAT: On June 15 at the capital in Charleston, WV, coalfield residents and allies from across Appalachia will announce Appalachia Rising a mass mobilization set for September 27 in Washington DC. They are calling for thousands to join them in demanding the Obama Administration abolish surface mining and investment in sustainable economic diversification in Appalachia. Groups aim to mobilize thousands from across the country for a dignified day of action in DC to increase public pressure on elected officials and regulators to ban surface mining.
Speakers at the press conference will include:
Christians for the Mountains
Vernon Haltom, Coal River Mountain Watch
Bo Webb, Naoma, WV, Veteran
Chuck Nelson, Ohio Valley Environmental Coalition, retired UMWA coal miner
Maria Gunnoe, Ohio Valley Environmental Coalition, Goldman Environmental Prize Winner
Larry Gibson, Kayford Mountain, Mountain Keepers
Mickey McCoy, Inez, KY
Laura Steepleton, Climate Ground Zero
Andrew Munn, Mountain Justice
Danny Chiotos, Student Environmental Action Coalition
Congregation member of the Charleston Unitarian Universalist Church
WHY: The movement to abolish surface mining, in particular mountaintop removal coal mining, has grown tremendously in the last year with hundreds of thousands of advocacy emails, dozens of nonviolent protests resulting in hundreds of arrests, and growing national media attention from the New York Times to the Colbert Report. Recently, the EPA passed strict new guidelines for coal operators practicing mountaintop removal, and even Senator Byrd has recognized national opposition to the practice and voiced concerns about its impact on communities. Despite this progress, mountaintop removal continues to damage and displace coalfield communities throughout southern and central Appalachia.
Many see 2010 as the defining moment in the effort to abolish mountaintop removal. With upcoming hearings for the Clean Water Protection Act and the Appalachian Restoration Act as well as midterm elections, coalfield residents and their allies are mobilizing a national call to stop surface mining once and for all.
Appalachia Rising is calling for the abolition of surface mining, a just transition for coalfield communities, and renewed investment in a prosperous and just economy in Appalachia.
Every day, across Appalachia, MTR coal companies are literally blowing the tops off the mountains: clear-cutting forests, wiping out natural habitats, poisoning rivers and drinking water, and eliminating entire ecosystems. Not only are these mountains lost forever, but the heritage and the health of families across the region are being sacrificed for a mere 7 percent of the nation’s coal.