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September 21, 2010
1:11 PM

CONTACT: Appalachia Rising

Bo Webb: 304-854-7104; 
Mickey McCoy: 606-298-4458

Thousands to Converge in DC to Call For End to Mountaintop Removal

Appalachia residents, retired coal miners and supporters to march and rally at the White House on Sep. 27

Call for Obama Administration to abolish mountaintop removal mining and immediately veto Spruce Mine project

WASHINGTON - September 21 -
More than a thousand people are expected to converge in D.C. on Sep. 27 for ‘Appalachia Rising,’ the largest national protest to demand the end to mountaintop removal coal mining. Appalachia Rising is being led by citizens of conscience from the states directly impacted by mountaintop removal who are calling for the abolition of the controversial mining practice and protection for America’s waters from all forms of surface mining. Concerned Americans will bring to the White House the message that mountaintop removal coal mining is destroying health and communities and has no place in a clean energy future. The march and rally will follow a weekend summit, Voices from the Mountains, and will include non-violent civil disobedience for individuals who choose.

WHEN/WHERE: Monday, Sep. 27

  • Rally on Freedom Plaza, at 13 and Pennsylvania NW starts at 10:00 am
  • March begins at 11:30 am leaving from Freedom Plaza
  • March arrives at White House/Lafayette Park at 12:45 pm for protest

WHO: Citizens from West Virginia, Virginia, Kentucky and Tennessee directly impacted by mountaintop removal including former coal miners, ministers, mothers, students and activists as well as their allies from across the country. Also attending will be leaders from the faith, scientific, environmental and celebrity communities, including climatologist Dr. James Hansen, authors Eric Reece and Silas House, Native American activist Matthew Sherman, and country music star Big Kenny. More than 100 advocacy groups across the nation have endorsed the event.
WHY:Appalachia Rising was formed to demand the Obama Administration immediately abolish mountaintop removal (MTR) coal mining—the practice of blowing up mountains (and dumping the debris into nearby streams and valleys, creating valley fills) to reach seams of coal. In the past year, the tide has turned on mountaintop removal with Appalachia residents, scientists, congressional representatives and environmentalists decrying the practice as coming at too high a cost to public health, land, water and taxpayers. Last April, in response to resounding opposition to mountaintop removal, the EPA announced new guidelines for permitting mountaintop removal valley fills. However, the impacts of mountaintop removal mining are so destructive that Appalachia Rising is calling on the administration to halt active mines and create a permanent moratorium on new permits.
As a step in the right direction, groups have called on the EPA to immediately veto the Spruce No. 1 Mine project, which would be one of the largest strip-mining operations in Appalachia. The EPA is set to make a decision in the coming weeks on whether to reverse the Corps of Engineers' 2007 approval for the mine. With mountaintop removal becoming increasingly controversial, the EPA’s decision on the 2,278-acre Spruce project is being closely watched as a sign of the mining practice’s future.
A paper released in January 2009 by a dozen leading scientists in the journal Science concluded that mountaintop coal mining is so destructive that the government should stop giving out new permits altogether. "The science is so overwhelming that the only conclusion that one can reach is that mountaintop mining needs to be stopped," said Margaret Palmer, a professor at the University of Maryland Center for Environmental Sciences and the study's lead author.
Mountaintop removal is a radical form of coal mining in in which up to 800 feet, sometimes more, of densely forested mountaintops are literally blown up to reach thin coal seams. The resulting millions of tons of rock are dumped into surrounding valleys and rivers, polluting the headwaters that provide drinking water to millions of Americans. Already, 500 mountains and 2,000 miles of streams have been lost due to this devastating mining practice. A 2009 report estimated that coal mining costs Appalachia five times more in premature deaths, $42 billion, than it provides the region in jobs, taxes and other economic benefits, which total $8.1 billion.


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