Quantcast
Environmental News for a Healthier Planet and Life

Democrats Must Include Plank to End Mountaintop Removal

Energy
Democrats Must Include Plank to End Mountaintop Removal

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.

 

Matthew Micah Wright / The Image Bank / Getty Images

By Deborah Moore, Michael Simon and Darryl Knudsen

There's some good news amidst the grim global pandemic: At long last, the world's largest dam removal is finally happening.

Read More Show Less

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

Scrap metal is loaded into a shredder at a metal recycling facility on July 17, 2008 in Chicago, Illinois. Scott Olson / Getty Images

Hunger strikers in Chicago are fighting the relocation of a metal shredding facility from a white North Side neighborhood to a predominantly Black and Latinx community on the Southeast Side already plagued by numerous polluting industries.

Read More Show Less

Trending

A new UK study links eating meat with increased risks for heart disease, diabetes and more. nata_zhekova / Getty Images

The World Health Organization has determined that red meat probably causes colorectal cancer in humans and that processed meat is carcinogenic to humans. But are there other health risks of meat consumption?

Read More Show Less
A common cuttlefish like this can pass the "marshmallow test." Hans Hillewaert / CC BY-SA 4.0

Cuttlefish, marine invertebrates related to squids and octopuses, can pass the so-called "marshmallow test," an experiment designed to test whether human children have the self-control to wait for a better reward.

Read More Show Less
Yogyakarta Bird Market, Central Java, Indonesia. Jorge Franganillo / CC BY 2.0

By John R. Platt

The straw-headed bulbul doesn't look like much.

It's less than a foot in length, with subdued brown-and-gold plumage, a black beak and beady red eyes. If you saw one sitting on a branch in front of you, you might not give it a second glance.

Read More Show Less