Monday July 26th, 2010: Keep Ison Rock Ridge Standing and Call-in to Senator Jim Webb’s Office!

Questions, comments, or to find out how to take further action, please contact
Nina at the Southern Appalachian Mountain Stewards office: (276) 523-4380


Mountaintop removal is a devastating method of strip mining in which hundreds
of feet are blasted off the tops of mountains and dumped into neighboring valleys
in order to expose thin seams of coals. The proposed Ison Rock Ridge mine would
destroy nearly 1,300 acres of forested land, bury headwater streams and put
hundreds of Wise County families at risk. The impacts of the proposed Ison
Rock Ridge permit would occur in addition to the intensive surface mining already
taking place on over a quarter of the land area in Wise County, Virginia

Wise County residents have been successfully fighting this permit since 2007
with the support of people statewide. The Virginia Department of Mines, Minerals,
and Energy has approved of the mine, but is unable to issue a permit as the
EPA has put a hold on the project for further review. The EPA is concerned
that the proposed mine would violate the Clean Water Act, and so are we.
There is no way to operate a mine of this size without valley fills—dumping
the tops of mountains into valleys, burying and destroying fresh water streams.
Strip mines of this scale threaten public health and safety.

Community members are tragically familiar with the dangers of strip mining.
The company proposing the Ison Rock Ridge mine, A&G, is the same company
that is responsible for the death of three-year old Jeremy Davidson, who was
killed by a falling boulder from a similar
mountaintop removal mine.

Senator Jim Webb has a history of championing progressive causes. However,
he has remained silent on the matter of Ison Rock Ridge and is currently receiving
disproportionate pressure from the coal industry. In turn, people concerned
about those living in southwestern Virginia and the health of the environment
MUST ramp up the pressure as well.

Senator Webb’s public support would greatly strengthen the efforts of
those on the grounds of the Virginia coal fields and send a clear message that
the welfare of people in these communities is of greater concern than profit
for the corrupt coal industry.

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