RELEASE: Group of Kentuckians Demand End to Mountaintop Removal Mining in Governor’s Office Sit-In

Press Release: Group of Kentuckians Demand End to Mountaintop Removal Mining in Governor’s Office Sit-In

11 February 2011

Contact: Silas House/Jason Howard 606.224.1208

FRANKFORT – A group of twenty Kentuckians has gathered at the state Capitol in an attempt to meet with Gov. Steve Beshear to discuss the issue of mountaintop removal mining. They plan to remain in his office until the governor agrees to stop the poisoning of Kentucky’s land, water, and people by mountaintop removal; or until he chooses to have the citizens physically removed.

Among the group are 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; Erik Reece, 43, who has written extensively about the coal industry; Patty Wallace, 80, a grandmother and long-time activist from Louisa; 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.

While these Kentuckians realize they are risking arrest by refusing to leave the governor’s office, they say they have repeatedly petitioned Gov. Beshear for help, yet their pleas have been ignored. This action is a last resort to seek protections for their health, land, and water.

In a letter to Gov. Beshear, the citizens expressed their desire to communicate “respectfully and effectively” with the governor about the urgent need to stop the destruction of mountaintop removal mining. Among their requests were the following:

§  Accept a long-standing invitation to view the devastation in eastern Kentucky caused by mountaintop removal mining

§  Foster a sincere, public discussion about the urgent need for a sustainable economic transition for coal workers and mountain communities

§  Withdraw from the October 2010 lawsuit against the Environmental Protection Agency, in which the Beshear administration partnered with the coal industry to oppose the EPA’s efforts to protect the health and water of coalfield residents

“The office of the governor must be held accountable,” they citizens explained in a joint statement. “We are once again asking Gov. Beshear for help.”

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January 3rd – 24th, 2010: Come to the 2011 CGZ Winter Action Camp!

Mark your calendars for Climate Ground Zero’s second Winter Action Camp! CGZ is now accepting applications for the camp, scheduled to be held January 3rd – 24th in the coal fields of southern West Virginia. The camp will involve multiple intensive training tracks, such as action team, action media, legal support, and other skills relevant for this campaign and its future actions, as well as for your campaigns back home.

Taking part in the camp is a three-week, full-time, commitment. Participants should come prepared to work and to stay for the entire length of camp. We are looking for participants who are interested in every role of this action camp – cooks, action medics, climbers, hikers, and more. We are specifically looking for people who are interested in gaining skills and using those skills to build the movement.

A sliding-scale fee will be requested, as your food and housing will be provided. Nobody, however, will be turned away for lack of funds. All those who apply should be able to bring their own warm winter gear, as well as be comfortable living communally with forty or more people. Because of our limited training and living capacity, there will be a limited number of spaces for participants. Please mark your calendars and check back with climategroundzero.org for more detailed updates.

We hope multiple actions can emerge from this year’s camp, check out pictures from the winter treesit that came out of last year’s camp, here.

If you have any questions, feel free to get in touch with us at [email protected] or 304-854-1937.

Check out what happened at last year´s action camp!

You can find the application here.

We will not tolerate harassment of any kind and reserve the right to remove anyone from the camp at any time.


Kayford Reclamation