Quantcast

Democrats Must Include Plank to End Mountaintop Removal

Energy

Jeff Biggers

The Democrats have nothing to lose. And everything to gain—especially the health and lives of residents in the coal mining areas of central Appalachia.  

Calling it "Judy's plank," in honor of beloved West Virginia mountaineer Judy Bonds, whose untimely death in 2011 served as a wakeup call to the mounting humanitarian and health care crises from mountaintop removal mining, the Democratic Party platform should officially include a commitment for an immediate moratorium on the devastating form of strip mining at their national convention in Charlotte on Sept. 4.

Ending one of the most blatant civil rights and environmental crimes is not just the right and moral thing to do. It would be a smart move for the Democrats and President Obama, whose recent pander to Big Coal in a bizarre Ohio ad against Romney was rightly denounced by environmentalists and health care advocates as a disgrace.

And Charlotte, whose bright lights and big city operates on coal-fired plants from mountaintop removal operations, would be a symbolic place to start.

Let's be real: Obama doesn't have a chance of winning West Virginia. A prison inmate gave the President a run for his money in the Democratic primary. Most of West Virginia's top Democrats, like U.S. Sen. Joe Manchin, Rep. Nick Rahall and Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin, are such sycophants to the Big Coal lobby that they aren't even attending the convention.

In truth, mountaintop removal provides less than 5-7 percent of national coal production. It's simply not needed any more. Meanwhile, as study after study is released documenting the link between mountaintop removal fallout and birth defects and cancer, among other diseases, as well as irreversible destruction of waterways and biological communities, a humanitarian crisis is growing every day.

The Democrats can not speak of being advocates for clean energy, civil rights and the environment if they turn their backs on besieged residents in Appalachia and quietly accept mountaintop removal mining.

In fact, Democrats should also ask someone like Goldman Prize recipient Maria Gunnoe to speak at the convention, as well.

Because, who speaks for Appalachia? Out-of-state coal companies and their political lackeys, like Manchin, or deeply rooted and devoted citizens like Judy Bonds and her family. 

"My daddy was a mountaineer before he was a coal miner," Bonds reminded us. "You know the coal industry's trying to rewrite heritage. They're trying to say 'well, what about your coal heritage?' Oh yeah, my coal heritage. I got plenty of that. That's my history of resistance against the abuses of the coal industry. That's my coal heritage."

On Sept. 4, the Democrats should embrace that same inspiring heritage against the abuses of the coal industry and call for an end to mountaintop removal.

Visit EcoWatch’s MOUNTAINTOP REMOVAL page for more related news on this topic.

 

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

Pexels

By Danielle Nierenberg and Katherine Walla

As the holiday season ramps up for many across the world, Food Tank is highlighting 15 children's books that will introduce young eaters, growers and innovators to the world of food and agriculture. Authors and organizations are working to show children the importance — and fun — of eating healthy, nutritious and delicious food, growing their own produce, and giving food to others in need.

Read More Show Less
Pixabay

By Alina Petre, MS, RD (CA)

Purple cabbage, also referred to as red cabbage, belongs to the Brassica genus of plants. This group includes nutrient-dense vegetables, such as broccoli, Brussels sprouts, and kale.

Read More Show Less
Sponsored
Pexels

By Lauren Wolahan

For the first time ever, the UN is building out a roadmap for curbing carbon pollution from agriculture. To take part in that process, a coalition of U.S. farmers traveled to the UN climate conference in Madrid, Spain this month to make the case for the role that large-scale farming operations, long criticized for their outsized emissions, can play in addressing climate change.

Read More Show Less
Pexels

By Rachael Link, MS, RD

In recent years, acai bowls have become one of the most hyped-up health foods on the market.

They're prepared from puréed acai berries — which are fruits grown in Central and South America — and served as a smoothie in a bowl or glass, topped with fruit, nuts, seeds, or granola.

Read More Show Less
Investing in grid infrastructure would enable utilities to incorporate modern technology, making the grid more resilient and flexible. STRATMAN2 / FLICKR

By Elliott Negin

The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences' recent decision to award the 2019 Nobel Prize in Chemistry to scientists who developed rechargeable lithium-ion batteries reminded the world just how transformative they have been. Without them, we wouldn't have smartphones or electric cars. But it's their potential to store electricity generated by the sun and the wind at their peak that promises to be even more revolutionary, reducing our dependence on fossil fuels and protecting the planet from the worst consequences of climate change.

Read More Show Less