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
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.
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.