Dustin White, an organizer from Boone County, West Virginia, discusses recent actions targeting the EPA’s failure to address the grave impacts of mountaintop removal coal mining on rural communities. Global Justice Ecology Project teams up with the Sojourner Truth show on KPFK Pacifica Los Angeles for a weekly Earth Minute each Tuesday and a weekly Earth Watch interview each Thursday.
Note: Joe Solomon is a good friend and ally of Global Justice Ecology Project, and a former member of GJEP-sponsored Rising Tide Vermont.
-The GJEP Team
April 15, 2013. Source: Radical Action for Mountain People’s Survival
Today two protesters disrupted the first symposium held by the Appalachian Research Initiative in Environmental Science (ARIES), a coal industry funded research consortium. Joe Solomon and David Baghdadi marched into the opening session of the “Environmental Considerations in Energy Production” Symposium, locked themselves together, and started chanting “Coal kills, science lies.” They also played recordings of the late Judy Bonds and Larry Gibson, long-time leaders in the fight against strip-mining. The plenary panel included the top state mining regulators from West Virginia, Virginia and Kentucky, including WV Dept. of Environmental Protection. Joe and David said they would unlocked if even one West Virginia citizen was allowed to speak on the panel. Symposium organizers chose instead to clear the room, call the Charleston Police and have the two arrested. More protesters outside the symposium sought to highlight the questionable nature of research produced with coal industry money.
“This is just another example of the coal industry cynically trying to muddy the waters, distort the science and delay the inevitable,” said Junior Walk of Boone Co., WV who attended the protest, “Truly independent scientists and Appalachian citizen’s daily experiences both have proven strip mining damages community health, local economies and local watershed. It’s time for action.”
The protesters today were acting in solidarity with Appalachian residents that are at the headquarters of the Environmental Protection Agency’s Regions 3 and 4 in Philadelphia and Atlanta today to demand the EPA issue a “conductivity rule”. Over three years the EPA released independently reviewed science clearly linking higher conductivity from strip mines with damage to overall stream health. Citizens’ groups across Appalachia have been calling on the EPA to translate this science into an enforceable, numeric limit.
By John Ahni Schertow, March 15, 2013. Source: Intercontinental Cry
In March 2012, the Correa government signed a controversial agreement with the Chinese-owned company Ecuacorrientes (ECSA) to extract copper, gold and silver within the traditional territory of the Shuar Peoples, in the Condor Highlands of southeastern Ecuador.
The Mirador Project includes a total of six open pit mining concessions encompassing almost 25,000 acres. According to the Global Alliance for the Rights of Nature (GARN), “Mirador’s open pit mines will eliminate all the vegetation and the superficial soil layer of the mined area including 4,000 species of vascular plants that contain the richest biodiversity in South America.”
The project will have a severe impact on the Shuar, their culture and their sacred sites, not to mention the very water and land they depend on.
The threat to the Shuar started receiving headlines last month (at least in the United States) thanks to a timely article published at salon.com: “To get the gold, they will have to kill every one of us”. Continue reading
Filed under Biodiversity, Climate Change, Corporate Globalization, Forests, Indigenous Peoples, Latin America-Caribbean, Mining, Mountaintop Removal, Rights, Resilience, and Restoration
CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Annual spring break outings aimed at educating and training environmental activists will focus this year on the downsides of coal mining in Virginia and gas drilling in West Virginia.Mountain State Justice Spring Break targets college students who want to learn about extractive industries. But it’s open to any concerned citizen. It explores why Appalachia is a rich land with poor people.
The first event is March 1-10 in the historic mining town of Appalachia, Va., in a region heavily affected by mountaintop removal coal mining.
The West Virginia spring break follows March 10-17 near West Union in Doddridge County, an area surrounded by gas-drilling operations.Both events offer education, community service, lectures, hiking, music and the chance to engage in direct action.
West Virginia: http://mjsb.org/
By Jen Wilton and Liam Barrington-Bush, January 29 2013. Source: Upside Down World
Photo: Upside Down World
From January 17-20, anti-mining activists from Mesoamerica and beyond gathered in the small Mexican mountain town of Capulálpam de Méndez, Oaxaca to say ‘Yes to life! No to mining!’. The event attracted nearly 500 participants from Mexico, Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras, Puerto Rico, Argentina, Canada, the United States and Europe.
People gathered to share stories about how mining practices have impacted on their communities, on the environment and also to share strategies of resistance. A strong theme throughout the event was the centrality in not just fighting against individual mines, but in securing autonomy for communities affected by mining to make their own choices. When communities themselves are able to determine their own paths, mining and other destructive industrial practices cannot unilaterally affect peoples’ health, human rights, and local environment. As participant Carmelina Santiago from Oaxaca, Mexico stated emphatically, “The greatest authority in the community is the community!” Continue reading
January 22 2013. Source: RAMPS
Seven protesters affiliated with the RAMPS campaign (Radical Action for Mountain Peoples’ Survival), MORE(Missourians Organizing for Reform and Empowerment) and Mountain Justice are locked down to a 500-pound small potted tree in Arch Coal’s third-floor headquarters while a larger group is in the lobby performing a song and dance. Additionally, a helium balloon banner with the message “John Eaves Your Coal Company Kills”, directed at the Arch Coal CEO was released in at the Arch Coal headquarters.
“We’re here to halt Arch’s operations for as long as we can. These coal corporations do not answer to communities, they only consume them. We’re here to resist their unchecked power,” explained Margaret Fetzer, one of the protestors.
Arch Coal, the second largest coal company in the U.S., operates strip mines in Appalachia and in other U.S. coal basins. Strip mining is an acutely destructive and toxic method of mining coal, and resource extraction disproportionately impacts marginalized communities. Continue reading
Note: Shutting down coal plants: Good. Replacing coal with natural gas instead of working toward drastically reducing consumption: not so good.
-The GJEP Team
By Eric Lipton, December 19, 2012. Source: NY Times
Photo: Shawn Poynter/New York Times
Coal took another serious hit Wednesday — in the heart of coal country.
American Electric Power, or A.E.P., the nation’s biggest consumer of coal,announced that it would shut its coal-burning boilers at the Big Sandy electric power plant near Louisa, Ky., a 1,100-megawatt facility that since the early 1960s has been burning coal that was mined locally.
Big Sandy this year became a symbolof the plight of the coal industry nationwide. Strict new environmental regulations are forcing large utilities to spend billions of dollars to retrofit old coal-burning plants or shut them down, replacing them in most cases with equipment that uses cleaner-burning natural gas.
A.E.P., which is based in Ohio, has repeatedly changed its mind over what to do with Big Sandy, a big employer in eastern Kentucky, both at the 120-employee plant itself and in the Appalachian-area coal mines that feed it 2.5 million tons of coal each year.
By Zach Hagadone, November 21, 2012. Source: Boise Weekly
Photo: Zach Hagadone
A plan by some of the globe’s biggest mining companies to ship hundreds of millions of tons of coal by rail through Idaho’s panhandle is still in its infancy, but that’s not stopping activists from raising a ruckus.
Members of Moscow-based Wild Idaho Rising Tide joined Occupy Spokane Nov. 17 to take their opposition to the Idaho panhandle town of Sandpoint, where many of the shipments would roll through on a journey from Montana to the Pacific Coast. The coal would ultimately be loaded onto ships bound for China or India.
According to WIRT organizer Helen Yost, communities like Sandpoint and Spokane are being left out of the process.
“[Public hearings in Spokane, Wash.] are the closest hearings for folks who live in Idaho and Montana, and we feel like our concerns are being ignored,” said Yost. “How legitimate is the scoping process if they’re not even considering input from two of the affected states?”
According to opponents, the coal-shipments’ effects could be dire.
By Vicki Smith, November 15 2012. Source: Associated Press
MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — Bankrupt Patriot Coal Corp. agreed Thursday to become the first U.S. coal operator to phase out and eventually stop all large-scale mountaintop removal mining in central Appalachia under an agreement reached with three environmental groups that sued over pollution from several West Virginia operations.
St. Louis-based Patriot said the proposed agreement allows it to postpone as much as $27 million in expenses into 2014 and beyond, improving its liquidity and the likelihood it can successfully emerge from Chapter 11 protection as a viable business.
The deal comes as Patriot tackles litigation that must be resolved during those proceedings. The terms would be binding on any subsidiaries it sells or spins off.
Presented to U.S. District Judge Robert Chambers in Huntington for consideration, the agreement stemmed from water pollution lawsuits filed by the Sierra Club, Ohio Valley Environmental Coalition and West Virginia Highlands Conservancy. Continue reading
This week, the American people gave Barack Obama four more years to demonstrate his leadership of our nation. We congratulate the President on his victory, but also must hold him accountable to his promise to lead based on science and fact.
With that in mind, we’re reminding President Obama that there are no excuses to legitimize the destruction of the Appalachian Mountains — and there never have been.
Take Action Now and tell the President, No More Excuses, End Mountaintop Removal!
After he was elected in 2008, President Obama said:
“Science holds the key to our survival as a planet and our security and prosperity as a nation … It’s about listening to what our scientists have to say, even when it’s inconvenient — especially when it’s inconvenient.”