Thursday, September 30, 2010

More than 100 Arrested at White House Demanding End to Mountaintop Removal; Musicians Save Mountains

More than 100 Arrested at White House Demanding End to

Mountaintop Removal; Musicians Save Mountains - Dave

Matthews, Big Kenny, Emmylou Harris, and Kathy Mattea


Appalachia Rising

Monday, September 27th, 2010 at 9:55 pm


WASHINGTON DC - More than 100 people were arrested today

during Appalachia Rising, the largest national protest to

end mountaintop removal (MTR) coal mining. Arrests included

Appalachian residents; retired coal miners; renowned climate

scientist, James Hansen; and faith leaders. After a march

from Freedom Plaza and a rally at Lafayette Park, more than

100 stage a sit-in in front of the White House to demand

President Obama follow his own science and end mountaintop

mining. The likely charge is obstruction.


In addition to the non-violent civil disobedience at the

White House, four people were arrested during a sit-in at

PNC bank for protesting the bank's role as the lead U.S.

financier of MTR.


Arrest in front of the White House


"The science is clear, mountaintop removal destroys historic

mountain ranges, poisons water supplies and pollutes the air

with coal and rock dust," said renowned climate scientist

James Hansen, who was arrested in today's protest at the

White House. "Mountaintop removal, providing only a small

fraction of our energy, can and should be abolished. The

time for half measures and caving in to polluting industries must end."


Appalachia Rising is being led by residents of West

Virginia, Kentucky, Virginia, and Tennessee - Appalachian

states directly impacted by mountaintop removal. They are

calling for the Obama Administration to immediately abolish

the practice of blowing up mountains and dumping the debris

into nearby streams and valleys to reach seams of coal. "I

have talked, begged, debated, written letters to officials,

published op-ed pieces in newspapers and lobbied on the

state and federal level to end mountaintop removal," said

Mickey McCoy, former mayor and lifelong resident of Inez,

Kentucky, who was also arrested today.  "Being arrested?

That's such a small price to pay for being heard. My home

and people are paying the real price for mountaintop

removal. They are dying."


The tide has been turning on mountaintop removal with

Appalachian 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 end the practice altogether by halting

active mines and creating 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.


"We know, and the Obama Administration has said, that

mountaintop removal mining is bad for human health and the

environment," says Jane Branham of the Southern Appalachian

Mountain Stewards in VA.  "The issue here is whether

President Obama will follow the science and do something

about it now!"


A dozen leading scientists published a paper in the journal

Science in January 2009, concluding that mountaintop removal

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

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 than it provides the region

in jobs, taxes and other economic benefits.




Dave Matthews talks about the destruction of mountaintop

removal, profit and why it must be stopped


NRDC interviews Dave Matthews




Big Kenny recorded this video on-the-spot during a visit to Kayford Mountain


Big Kenny - Contaminate




Music Saves Mountains Press Conference


NRDC President Frances Beinecke joined with musicians

Emmylou Harris, Big Kenny, Kathy Mattea to bring attention

to the problem of mountaintop removal coal mining in the

Appalachias. Find out more at




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