Category Archives: Mountaintop Removal

Appalachian ‘Our Water, Our Future’ protest today for clean water, climate justice

App-Rising-Mosaic-Donna-1000x288-1Dana Kuhnline wrote this great essay for Waging Nonviolence on the inspiration leading up to the Our Water, Our Future protest scheduled for today in DC. The event and others for this week have been organized by a coalition of groups working on environmental justice in the region, particularly around mountaintop removal and coal.

Appalachians push for clean water and climate justice with week of action
By Dana Kuhnline, Waging Nonviolence. September 6, 2014.

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.”

Read the whole article here.

Photo comes from the Alliance for Appalachia website.

Read the press release for the events here.

Leave a Comment

Filed under Actions / Protest, Coal, Mountaintop Removal, Water

Canada Now Leads Brazil in Deforestation

Scientists from the University of Maryland, Greenpeace, Global Forest Watch, and the World Resources Institute are tracking global forest decline and have announced that the rate of decline is accelerating.

Canada has now surpassed all other countries including Brazil as being responsible for loss of forest landscapes since 2000.  According to a story in the Ottawa Citizen published last week, the “main drivers are fire, logging, and energy and industrial development.”

Resource exploitation in the boreal forests of Quebec, Ontario, Saskatchewan, and Alberta are particularly devastating. Satellite imagery shows that the boreal forests in the area of the oil sands between Fort McMurray and Lake Athabasca has been almost totally devastated.

 

Lakes, like these in Northern Ontario dot Canada's boreal forests and contain 25 percent of the world's wetlands.  Photo- Jeff Wells

Lakes, like these in Northern Ontario dot Canada’s boreal forests and contain 25 percent of the world’s wetlands. Photo- Jeff Wells

According to Dr Nigel Sizer, director of the forest program at the World Resources Institute, “if this rate of degradation continues “business as usual will lead to destruction of most remaining intact forests in this century”

Canada leads world in forest decline, report says
By William Marsden, Ottawa Citizen. September 3, 2014.

WASHINGTON – The world’s virgin forests are being lost at an increasing rate and the largest portion of the degradation is in Canada, according to a new report.

No longer is Brazil the main villain in the struggle to stop forest destruction.

“Canada is the number one in the world for the total area of the loss of intact forest landscapes since 2000,” Peter Lee, of Forest Watch Canada, said in an interview.

He said the main drivers are fires, logging and energy and industrial development.

“There is no political will at federal or provincial levels for conserving primary forests,” he said. “Most logging done in Canada is still to this day done in virgin forests.”

Using satellite technology, scientists from the University of Maryland, Greenpeace, Global Forest Watch and the World Resources Institute have tracked changes in the earth’s forest coverage. The scientists discovered that the pace of decline is accelerating with more than 104 million hectares – about 8.1 per cent of global undisturbed forests — lost from 2000 to 2013.

Read the whole article here

 

 

 

Leave a Comment

Filed under Biodiversity, Bioenergy / Agrofuels, BREAKING NEWS, Campaign to STOP GE Trees, Carbon Trading, Climate Change, Climate Justice, Coal, Commodification of Life, Corporate Globalization, Energy, False Solutions to Climate Change, Forests, Forests and Climate Change, Fracking, Great Lakes, Green Economy, Greenwashing, Hydroelectric dams, Industrial agriculture, Keystone XL, Mining, Mountaintop Removal, Oil, Pollution, Tar Sands, The Greed Economy and the Future of Forests, Uncategorized, Water

Three great stories: Protests of an oil train terminal and coal baron, and a judge’s ruling

20140904_090251-1024x768I couldn’t choose just one story for this post: There were three great ones and since they are all related to the fight against extreme energy, here they are.

First, a US judged ruled yesterday that BP was reckless, making “profit-driven decisions” with a “disregard for known risks.” This opens BP up to billions in penalties, particularly civil fines based on the Clean Water Act. Moreover, couldn’t all other extreme energy endeavors be called reckless using similar criteria? The following protests are exactly about other examples.

Next, protesters in Richmond, CA chained themselves to the fence of the Kinder Morgan rail terminal to protest new work taken on there transporting crude oil from trains to trucks.

Finally, check out this story about another protest, this time a banner drop, by Mountain Justice, Rising Tide North America and Radical Action for Mountain’s and Peoples’ Survival (RAMPS) in Roanoke, VA calling out “coal baron” Jim Justice, for “poisoning water, exposing communities to devastating mountaintop removal coal mining operations and leaving central Appalachia a public health disaster.”

As always, looks like the protesters got bail costs or fines associated with their nonviolent protest. Please follow the links to donate!

Leave a Comment

Filed under Actions / Protest, Ending the Era of Extreme Energy, Mountaintop Removal, Oil

Recent developments in the fight against mountaintop removal, Maria Gunnoe letter to Obama

Maria Gunnoe and mountaintop removal via EcoWatch

Maria Gunnoe and mountaintop removal via EcoWatch

On Friday, Jeff Biggers for EcoWatch reported on a federal judge ruling that the US Army Corps of Engineers does not have to consider studies on the health impacts of mountaintop removal when issuing permits.

Biggers notes that this comes just a couple of weeks after Maria Gunnoe, an organizer for the Ohio Valley Environmental Coalition, sent a letter to Obama urging him to renew funding for exactly such studies that were being conducted by the USGS, until funding was withdrawn last year.

Gunnoe Appeals to President … Judge Dismisses Health Studies on Mountaintop Removal
By Jeff Biggers, EcoWatch. August 22, 2014.

In a breathtaking but largely overlooked ruling this week, a federal judge agreed that the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers may disregard studies on the health impacts of mountaintop removal mining in its permitting process, only two weeks after Goldman Prize Award-winning activist Maria Gunnoe wrote an impassioned plea to President Obama to renew withdrawn funding for U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) research on strip mining operations and redouble federal action to address the decades-old humanitarian disaster.

Read the whole article and Maria Gunnoe’s letter here.

Find out more about Maria Gunnoe and the New Voice’s Speakers Bureau on GJEP’s website.

Leave a Comment

Filed under Ending the Era of Extreme Energy, Mountaintop Removal, Pollution

BREAKING: Activists blocking Bristol offices of Alpha Natural Resources

June 20, 2014. Source: Mountain Justice

Photo from Mountain Justice

Photo from Mountain Justice

Three activists demanding an end to mountaintop removal, block entrance to corporate office, stop business as usual.

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. Walk lives in the Coal River Valley, directly below Alpha operations on Coal River Mountain. Alpha recently began blasting on the 264 acre Collins Fork mine.  Local residents and activists have opposed surface mining on Coal River Mountain since the late 1990s. Continue reading

Leave a Comment

Filed under Actions / Protest, BREAKING NEWS, Mountaintop Removal

World’s biggest coal company, world’s biggest PR firm pair up to promote coal for poor people

Note: Looks like Peabody coal is taking this one right out of the UN’s “Sustainable Energy For All” playbook.  Pushing for more coal plants under the guise of reducing “energy poverty.”

-The GJEP Team

By Kate Sheppard, March 27, 2014. Source: Huffington Post

Photo: AP Photo/Jeff Roberson

Photo: AP Photo/Jeff Roberson

Peabody Energy Corp., the world’s largest private-sector coal company, launched a public relations and advertising campaign last month extolling the virtues of coal energy for poor people.

A Peabody press release announcing the campaign, called Advanced Energy for Life, argues that lack of access to energy is “the world’s number one human and environmental crisis.”

To enter the campaign website, readers encounter a drop-in screen that asks them to agree or disagree with the statement, “Access to low-cost energy improves our lives.” The site notes that there are 3.5 billion people in the world “without adequate energy” — 1.2 billion of them children. A video titled “Energy Poverty” features babies and small children, with text that implores, “We can solve this crisis.” It adds: “Affordable energy leads to better health.”

Peabody’s proposal to solve this crisis? Asking the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to stop setting pollution limits on coal-fired power plants. Those pollution rules are meant to address climate change caused by greenhouse-gas emissions, a global problem that has the greatest effect on poor countries. Burning coal generates carbon emissions as well as hazardous pollutants such as mercury, lead, and benzene, according to the American Lung Association.
Continue reading

Leave a Comment

Filed under Coal, Ending the Era of Extreme Energy, False Solutions to Climate Change, Mountaintop Removal, Pollution, World Bank

Duke Energy shareholders want probe of coal ash spill

By Michael Biesecker and Mitch Weiss, March 27, 2014. Source: Citizen-Times

Photo: Rick Dove, AP

Photo: Rick Dove, AP

Duke Energy shareholders called on the company’s board on Thursday to launch an independent investigation into issues surrounding a massive coal ash spill that coated 70 miles of a North Carolina river in toxic sludge.

A letter sent to Duke’s board of directors by a coalition of more than 20 large institutional investors says their confidence has been shaken by the Feb. 2 spill into the Dan River. The letter also expresses concern about an ongoing federal criminal probe and what the investors characterize as the company’s inadequate response to the environmental disaster.

The letter comes as North Carolina’s environmental agency was forced to admit state inspectors twice missed a large crack in an earthen dike holding back millions of tons of ash at a different Duke facility near the Cape Fear River.

Federal prosecutors have issued at least 23 subpoenas as part of a grand jury investigation into the spill and whether the company has received preferential treatment from state officials. Gov. Pat McCrory worked at Duke for more than 28 years, and the company and its executives have been generous political supporters of his campaign and Republican groups that support him.
Continue reading

Leave a Comment

Filed under Coal, Ending the Era of Extreme Energy, Energy, Mountaintop Removal, Pollution, Water

How the coal industry impoverishes West Virginia

By Omar Ghabra, January 24, 2014. Source: The Nation

A US flag flies at half-staff at a coal processing plant near the site of a disaster that killed twelve miners in Buckhannon, West Viriginia. Photo: Reuters/Jim Young

A US flag flies at half-staff at a coal processing plant near the site of a disaster that killed twelve miners in Buckhannon, West Viriginia. Photo: Reuters/Jim Young

There’s a joke circulating among Syrians who fled the brutal conflict devastating their country to the quiet mountains of West Virginia: “We escaped the lethal chemicals in Syria only for them to follow us here.” Of course, what’s happening in West Virginia right now is no laughing matter. But how could the refugees not be reminded of their decimated homeland after finding themselves, along with 300,000 other West Virginians, without access to potable water? Unfortunately, West Virginia is no stranger to having its living conditions compared to those in developing countries.

Fifty years ago, Michael Harrington authored his incisive depiction of poverty in the United States, aptly titled The Other America. The bestselling book—named one of the ten most influential books of the twentieth century by Time—is widely believed to have inspired John F. Kennedy’s commitment to addressing the dire conditions of the “invisible poor,” whom Harrington noted generally lived in rural or inner-city isolation, making them easier to ignore. After Kennedy’s assassination, this commitment was passed on to his successor, culminating in Lyndon Johnson’s declaration of an “unconditional war on poverty.”

West Virginia’s problems figured prominently in Harrington’s narrative. In one evocative passage, he describes the paradox of the state’s beauty and its grave socioeconomic conditions.“Driving through this area, particularly in the spring or the fall, one perceives the loveliness, the openness, the high hills, streams, and lush growth.” However, “beauty can be a mask for ugliness,” and “this is what happens in the Appalachians.”

This ugliness masked by supreme natural beauty has not disappeared in the fifty years since Harrington wrote these words. As a lifelong West Virginian who was raised among the southern coalfields of this state, I’ve witnessed firsthand the misery that permeates life here. “This irony is deep,” Harrington writes, “for everything that turns the landscape into an idyll for the urban traveler conspires to hold the people down. They suffer terribly at the hands of this beauty.” The suffering has largely come at the hands of the coal industry, which for the past century has purchased the blind loyalty of the state’s most influential institutions as it exploited the population for labor in criminally dangerous conditions, all while destroying the pristine grandeur of the environment to extract the abundant coal below the surface.
Continue reading

1 Comment

Filed under Coal, Ending the Era of Extreme Energy, Mining, Mountaintop Removal, Pollution, Water