Mountaintop Removal Coal Mining Ends On March 16

Fourteen months after the world watched in astonishment as poorly regulated coal-washing chemicals contaminated the Elk River in West Virginia, coal country residents and supporters are gearing up for an epic showdown on March 16 with the state’s Department of Environmental Protection—and the U.S. Congress—over the mounting death toll and health crisis from mountaintop removal strip mining.

After witnessing the loss of their health, livelihoods, forests, historic farms and homes over ahalf century of unparalleled strip mining destruction, The People’s Foot movement—an extraordinary alliance of residents, community and environmental groups and national civil rights organizations—is coming down in Charleston, West Virginia, with a clear message: March 16 has officially been declared “No More Mountaintop Removal Permits Day.”

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“Stop In The Name Of Love” As PNC Locks Down Regional HQs

On Monday, February 9, Earth Quaker Action Team demonstrated their love of the mountains and the earth with a Valentine’s Day themed protest at PNC Regional Headquarters, 1600 Market St, Philadelphia. The group called on PNC Bank to stop financing companies engaged in mountaintop removal coal mining, a horrific practice that poisons Appalachian communities and contributes to climate change. The protest, which prompted the bank to lock down for several hours, was in conjunction with the 10th annual I Love Mountains Day(1).

The forty-two people present ranged in age from 8 to 86. Some had traveled from Miami, Pittsburgh, and New York for a weekend training, intending to prepare for further action back home.

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Week Of Actions For Climate Justice In Appalachia

While much of the national climate movement has focused on gearing up towards the People’s Climate March in New York City later this month, frontline communities in Appalachia have been working hard at the local and regional level to address climate justice issues at the source.

“Our people have been producing energy for this nation for over 100 years. We are proud of our heritage. But we can’t stay stuck in time,” said Teri Blanton, a long time organizer with Kentuckians For The Commonwealth and The Alliance for Appalachia. “In Appalachia we’ve already seen what climate change can do — denuded and destroyed landscapes, poisoned water and a corrupt political system — it’s all together and it’s all connected. We have seen first hand that what they do to the land, they do to the people.”

One of the key issues Appalachian leaders are organizing communities around is water pollution; lack of access to safe water has been an issue for decades in the region, a grim irony considering the area is a temperate rainforest.

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WVA Implores Health Secretary To Stop Mountaintop Removal

Here’s a reality check: Since President Obama took office in 2009, not a single top level official from the White House, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Council on Environmental Quality, Department of the Interior or Department of Justice has ever made a fact-finding tour of mountaintop removal mining communities in central Appalachia, home to one of the worst health and humanitarian disasters in the nation. Even worse, a federal judge ruled last month that the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers may disregard studies on the health impacts of mountaintop removal mining in its permitting process. That could finally change with the newly appointed Department of Health and Human Service Secretary Sylvia Burwell, who was born and raised in Hinton, West Virginia.

“We implore you to come home for a visit, come to our mountaintop removal communities in the Coal River Valley,” nationally-honored West Virginia advocate Bo Webb wrote in a letter to Burwell this week. “Come to Twilight and Lindytown and see what mountaintop removal is doing to us.”

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UBS Backs Away From Mountaintop Removal

UBS, the world’s third top funder of mountaintop removal in 2011, has taken steps demonstrating its commitment to significantly reduce financing of the mining practice. Last month, the bank confirmed to environmental campaigners that it will continue backing away from mountaintop removal financing.Moreover, UBS has declined to participate in the most recent transactions with its former clients Alpha Natural Resources and Arch Coal, which were among the top producers of mountaintop removal coal in 2013.

“UBS’ statement is a step in the right direction on mountaintop removal, but it’s the bank’s actions that show they’re following through,” said Ricki Draper of Hands off Appalachia. “We have seen that grassroots organizing can make a difference in stopping the financing of this deadly form of mining that poisons coalfield communities and contributes to the destruction of Appalachia’s culture and heritage.”

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Stop Mountaintop Removal: Activists Blockade Headquarters

Three activists with Mountain Justice and Radical Action for Mountains and People’s Survival (RAMPS) are currently stopping business as usual at Alpha Natural Resources headquarters in Bristol, VA, in protest of Alpha’s devastating practices of mountaintop removal coal mining. Activists were protesting the opening of new mines on Coal River Mountain in southern West Virginia. Two protestors are locked in front of the front doors of the office, while a third is hanging from a flag pole displaying a banner that reads “Save Coal River Mountain”

“That mountain is the mountain I learned to hunt on, it’s the mountain that’s sustained my family for generations. I’ll be a dead man before I see them take what’s left up there,” said Junior Walk, of West Virginia.

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Rising Tide’s Continental Gathering, August 22-24

Save the Date!

Rising Tide North America Announces Our Continental Gathering! August 22-24 near Whitesburg, Kentucky

Join us for the 2nd annual Rising Tide North America Continental Gathering, August 22-24 in eastern Kentucky.

You can RSVP at http://bit.ly/1ihEyxn

This year, Rising Tide North America’s network of activists and allies from around the continent will be converging in Appalachia at the tenth anniversary of Mountain Justice to learn from and support the struggle to stop mountaintop removal, connect with climate justice activists from around North America and strategize about how we want our movement to expand and grow.

Additional details will be available soon..

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Day 3 Of The Climate Ground Zero Coal Dust Vigil

It’s dark, it’s cold, it’s snowy. Climate Ground Zero Director Mike Roselle leans down to place a jar of blasting dust at the base of the Liberty Bell replica on the steps to the capitol of West Virginia, Charleston. Roselle and his long-time activist friend, James Guinness McGuinness are on day 3 of their vigil as they wait for the West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection to analyze and report the contents of blasting dust Roselle and his team collected at Hell’s Gate.

“We have no intention of leaving until WV DEP tests the blasting dust and reports to residents exactly what is raining down on them, their children, gardens, homes, and property,” said Roselle.

On November 27th, at 6:30 PM, Climate Ground Zero Director Mike Roselle delivered a jar of blasting dust collected while trespassing at Hells Gate on the Progress mountaintop removal mine site.

The blasting dust was deposited at the replica of the Liberty Bell on the steps of the West Virginia State Capitol in Charleston. This jar of dust is toxic, is a violation of the littering law, is also a danger to human health, and should be considered hazardous waste.

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Mountaintop Removal Protests Against UBS Bank

Amazing campaign against UBS Stamford based bank that is financing mountaintop removal in Appalachia. The people taking action to stop UBS need your support as 14 were arrested on Monday and are still in jail. Their court date is not until January 8th. Please donate to help get them out. This is part of an active US-based campaign of Hands Off Appalachia demanding UBS change their official policy and stop funding and supporting companies that engage in mountaintop removal coal mining. Mountaintop removal (MTR) is a radical form of coal mining that blasts away mountains and devastates the environment and communities of Appalachia. MTR is being practiced primarily in West Virginia, Kentucky, Virginia and Tennessee and according to a 2009 study conducted by Appalachia Voices and the NRDC “roughly 1.2 million acres, including 500 mountains, have been flattened by mountaintop removal coal mining in the central Appalachian region.” According to the Environmental Protection Agency, mountaintop removal destroyed more than 1,200 miles of Appalachian streams and 7 percent of its forests between 1985 and 2001. However, MTR is much more than an environmental or aesthetic issue. It’s true that MTR creates polluted waters and toxic air but this destructive practice also perpetuates economic poverty, poor health, rampant cancer, loss of cultural heritage, and political disenfranchisement.

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