Quantcast

1,000 People Needed to End Mountaintop Removal

Energy

A reinvigorated "People's Foot" movement to end mountaintop removal is ramping up its efforts next week, as the last vestiges of outside support begin to abandon the nation's most egregious strip mining operations in central Appalachia.

"Mountaintop removal is on the ropes," said Bob Kincaid, with the Appalachian Community Health Emergency campaign and board president of Coal River Mountain Watch in West Virginia, "but we need 1,000 people to join us in the streets and in our campaign as subscribing members, contribute $5, $10, $100 and open the door to Appalachia's future."

In the last days, in fact, support for mountaintop removal has appeared to collapse—the last banks are closing their doors and refusing to lend money to finance the devastating practice, former MTR coal companies like Patriot have thrown in the towel, the most notorious MTR coal baron Don Blankenship is in federal court for conspiracy charges, and for the first time ever state agencies officials are acknowledging the 25 peer-reviewed scientific studies on the links to high cancer rates, birth defects and serious health problems.

But as new applications and permits for mountaintop removal in West Virginia and the region continue to be issued, the "dying" Appalachian coal companies, as one Illinois coal industry CEO crowed recently, are not going to quit any time soon without a fight—and government intervention.

"We're asking Congress to do what it should have done a generation ago," said Kincaid, referring to the Appalachian Community Health Emergency Act, which was reintroduced last month by Kentucky Rep. John Yarmuth and eastern Kentucky-native Rep. Louise Slaughter, calling for a moratorium on mountaintop removal operations until a federal health study is conducted. "It should have never begun, but now we have the science to know that it must end immediately."

In effect, the ACHE Act corrects the disastrous loopholes of current strip mining regulations, which have allowed over 500 mountains and adjacent communities to be destroyed and polluted, and forced central Appalachian residents to endure a health disaster and mounting death toll from reckless strip mining over the past half century.

In 1977, after a decades-long battle to abolish strip mining operations, President Jimmy Carter reluctantly signed the "watered-down" Surface Mining Control and Reclamation Act, calling it a "disappointing effort," which effectively granted federal sanctioning of mountaintop removal mining. "The President's other main objection to the bill," wrote the New York Times, "is that it allows the mining companies to cut off the tops of Appalachian mountains to reach entire seams of coal."

"The West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection continues to ignore the studies that show mountaintop removal is drastically harming our health and cutting our lives short," representatives with the ACHE Act said in a press release. "The most recent study, "Appalachian mountaintop mining particulate matter induces neoplastic transformation of human bronchial epithelial cells and promotes tumor formation," found a direct link between mountaintop removal dust and lung cancer. WV DEP Secretary Randy Huffman has finally admitted that the health studies should be considered, but has no plan for doing so. The DEP continues to issue mountaintop removal permits that allow the coal industry to blast West Virginia mountains with high explosives, unleashing fine particulates of silica, aluminum, and molybdenum dust. These dust particulates are proven to promote lung tumors. Time to put your foot down! No more mountaintop removal permits."

YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE

Mountaintop Removal Coal Mining Ends on March 16

PNC Bank Will Cease Investments in Mountaintop Removal Coal Mining

Clever Interactive Video Encourages Americans to Join Renewable Energy Revolution

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

The staircase to a subway station in SOHO with a temporary closure, flood control installation sign. Jeffrey Greenberg / Universal Images Group / Getty Images

The Metropolitan Transit Authority in New York City tested out a new system designed to protect its subways stations from flooding when another super storm hits, creating a bizarre sight on Wednesday, as The Verge reported.

Read More Show Less
Flat-lay of friends eating vegan and vegetarian Thanksgiving or Friendsgiving dinner with pumpkin pie, roasted vegetables, fruit and rose wine. Foxys_forest_manufacture / Royalty-free / iStock / Getty Images

Thanksgiving can be a tricky holiday if you're trying to avoid animal products — after all, its unofficial name is Turkey Day. But, as more and more studies show the impact of meat and dairy consumption on the Earth, preparing a vegan Thanksgiving is one way to show gratitude for this planet and all its biodiversity.

Read More Show Less
Sponsored
Residents wear masks for protection as smoke billows from stacks in a neighborhood next to a coal fired power plant on Nov. 26, 2015 in Shanxi, China. Kevin Frayer / Getty Images

While most of the world is reducing its dependence on coal-fired power because of the enormous amount of greenhouse gases associated with it, China raised its coal fired capacity over 2018 and half of 2019, according to a new study.

Read More Show Less
Children run on the Pacific Crest National Scenic Trail in California. Bureau of Land Management

By Matt Berger

It's not just kids in the United States.

Children worldwide aren't getting enough physical activity.

That's the main conclusion of a new World Health Organization (WHO) study released Wednesday.

Read More Show Less

By Tim Ruben Weimer

Tanja Diederen lives near Maastricht in the Netherlands. She has been suffering from Hidradenitis suppurativa for 30 years. Its a chronic skin disease in which the hair roots are inflamed under pain — often around the armpits and on the chest.

Read More Show Less